CLEVELAND -- Defensive lineman Jamie Meder grew up in Parma Heights, Ohio, and while playing for Valley Forge High School, he had his heart and mind set on making it to the highest level of football.
After a standout career at NCAA Division II Ashland University, Meder played in one game during the 2014 season for his hometown team, the Cleveland Browns. Then, last year, Meder not only made the Browns’ roster out of training camp, but played in all 16 games and made 33 total tackles.
Now in his third professional season, the 6-foot-3, 308-pound Meder is looking to build a future for himself in the NFL.
“I just want to continue building and improving on what I’ve done before and making more tackles, taking on more double teams, taking on double teams longer, just helping our team win,” Meder said. “I don’t ever want to get complacent. I don’t ever feel like I belong until the season is over.”
Meder got off to a good start in the preseason when he registered a safety the play after Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III threw an interception in the opener against the Green Bay Packers, and finished the four-game exhibition schedule with seven tackles, including three solo stops.
“He’s been playing well,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “He practices, the guy is very accountable. He’s there every day. He works extremely hard. 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 is playing for his second defensive coordinator in as many years, but is a believer in Ray Horton’s scheme.
With Horton’s guidance, the 2013 Browns registered 40 sacks for 185 lost yards and held opposing passers to just 3,723 yards, the lowest total they have allowed in any of the last four seasons, and their 1,781 rushing yards surrendered are the fewest in the expansion era. The last time the Browns allowed less than 1,800 rushing yards in a single season was in 1994, when they went 11-5 and advanced to the second round of the AFC playoffs.
It was the one of the best defensive turnarounds in Browns history, as they went from 23rd to ninth in total defense under Horton’s leadership, which marked the team’s best overall performance since 1994, and their opponents’ 3.9 yards-per-carry average was their lowest allowed total in 18 years.
After spending the last two seasons as the Tennessee Titans’ defensive coordinator, Horton takes over a defense that surrendered 6,067 total yards, including 2,055 on the ground and another 4,012 through the air in addition to 49 touchdowns and forced only 11 interceptions this year after collecting 21 during the 2014 season.
“I think it’s better for our whole defense in general, not just me,” Meder said. “Everybody’s making plays. Time will tell when we put more wins on the board. Coach Ray is going to put us in the best position. I think it goes back to us with our new attitude. We’re pushing each other. We’re just getting after it every day.
“It’s going to be great. We’re going to be a top-10 defense if we keep working at it.”