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O'HARA: What we learned from the Divisional Round

When Dan Campbell was hired as head coach of the Detroit Lions, he envisioned being able to compete with playoff contenders within three years.

Three years later, Campbell's vision has proven to be accurate. That's what we learned in Campbell's press conference after the Lions' win Sunday over the Buccaneers in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs.

Among the other things we learned are Campbell's formula for how teams can advance in the playoffs, what motivates All-Pro center Frank Ragnow to compete with pain, and quarterback Jared Goff's view on how Campbell and GM Brad Holmes have built a winning roster.

We start with Campbell's vision for the Lions in the playoffs:

The team Campbell inherited had a 3-13-1 record in 2021, 9-8 in 2022 and 12-5 and in the playoffs as NFC North champions in the third season under Campbell and his staff.

The Lions are not playoff contenders. They're already playoff winners – with wins over the Rams and Buccaneers in the Wild Card and Divisional Rounds.

"All you got to do is get in," Campbell said. "It's about placing yourself in the very best position to where you can move. You get a home game. Then maybe you get a second home game. And now, all of a sudden it gets a little easier.

"And if you're able to get a one seed, you've only got to win two games. That's always the objective. Once you get in, then it's about matchups. You find a way to win. You might have to win two to nothing, that's okay. A win's a win in the playoffs.

"Here we are. Now we get to go to San Francisco. We know what kind of team that is, but we're in a great position. We've got a great opportunity."

Center of attention: Ragnow continues to play through a toe injury that never really heals.

He went out briefly Sunday after getting rolled up on but returned to finish the game.

"I'm not trying to sound like some brute tough guy here," Ragnow said. "I'm just more frustrated than anything that it happened again.

"I take a lot of pride in being out there with the guys, being out there for the city. They signed me to this extension. I want to be fulfilling that. I don't want to be that guy who gets paid not doing that stuff.

"I want to be out there finding a way to win."

Roster building: When asked why he thinks the Lions have a relatively stable roster compared to many other teams, Goff pointed in the direction of the locker room.

"It's a credit to all the guys in there," he said. "We've said this a million times that it's the same group. It's not like we've added a ton. It's a lot of the same guys.

"Brad and Dan have been very intentional about bringing in those type of guys who can handle moments like today and moments like last week and ups and downs of a season. I think it's all been intentionally done by them. We're not here by accident."

Final words from Campbell: "I'm exhausted, and I didn't even play."

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