Cleveland Browns: Jamie Meder proving the value of being reliable

Aug 12, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Jamie Meder (98) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Jamie Meder (98) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns are placing an emphasis on players that they can rely on, and defensive lineman Jamie Meder is taking full advantage of the change.

Every year in the NFL fans are surprised when teams bench or release players that are perceived to be talented. It is a bit of a misnomer, really, because everyone who spends time in training camp with an NFL team is, by definition, talented.

Anyone who has paid even a little bit of attention to the Cleveland Browns has seen this play out in the past couple of years with players like Justin Gilbert. A first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft and reportedly a candidate to be an ex-Brown by the end of training camp, Gilbert appears to have the physical tools to play cornerback in the NFL, but continually comes up short in just about every other aspect of what it means to be an NFL player.

That’s why it is no surprise that defensive lineman Jamie Meder has quickly become a player the coaching staff can trust. As the Browns prepare for Thursday’s preseason friendly, Meder is not only competing for increased playing time, but possibly a starting role this fall after taking first-team reps on Monday.

“He’s been playing well. He practices, the guy is very accountable. He’s there every day. He works extremely hard,” according to head coach Hue Jackson. “He made some big plays, football plays by clogging holes, getting people off of double-teams, and then making plays, making a safety. I think he’s done a great job. I think you guys are saying his name a lot more. I know we are because he’s making plays, and we hope he continues to do so.”

Meder, who is in his third year with the Browns after entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014, fits the team’s new ethos of wanting players who are willing to put in the work during the week, rather than doing what they want and then thinking they can just show up on game day.

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“I just want to keep building and improving on what I’ve done before, making more tackles, taking on more double teams, taking on double teams longer. Just helping our team win,” Meder said. “I’m ready for wherever my coaches want to put me. If it’s first team, second team, third team, I’m ready to play. It doesn’t really matter.”

The move to the first team, where Meder lined up at defensive end, could be a temporary one as defensive coordinator Ray Horton continues to tinker with the defensive line. The Browns are still looking at numerous players to fill in for Desmond Bryant, who is out for the season with an injury, and have been without John Hughes for much of training camp, although he returned to practice today.

Meder has taken advantage of their absence, however, and may not be willing to let go anytime soon.

“I think he deserves it (as) he’s very valuable to us,” Jackson said of Meder. “As you guys see, we put a lot of people in a lot of different positions to give them opportunities, and he’s very deserving. I will say that.

“I think he’s tough. He’s really tough. He’s strong. He knocks people back and he pursues the football the way you have to pursue the football.”

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There is still a lot of football to be played before the Browns line up for real in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. But if he keeps going the way he has, Meder may find himself running onto the field for that first defensive series at Lincoln Financial Field.