Friday, June 15, 2018

Jamie Meder "one of the best run players in the NFL"

From Steve Doerschuk's "82 days before opener, Browns coaches say all systems go"
June 14, 2018

BEREA — In his spare time, Bob Wylie flies airplanes, performs magic tricks and plays musical instruments.

Wylie’s full-time employer is looking for the magic that might make an 0-16 team fly out of an era whose theme song has been Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

The Browns’ 67-year-old offensive line coach has a body-shape and bearing akin to Pop Fisher, the crusty manager from filmdom’s “The Natural,” who needed a miracle to revive his baseball team.

Old Pop’s dreams came true when aging Roy Hobbs fell out of the sky doing a superb Babe Ruth impersonation. It’s the other way around for Wylie, who has lost aging Joe Thomas, the best player from the Browns’ expansion era.

Yet, Wylie is optimistic he can get a left tackle ready in time to help the Browns do their take on coming out of nowhere.

“We have 83 days until we play the Pittsburgh Steelers on the ninth of September,” Wylie said as minicamp dispersed Thursday. “If we can’t get it done in 83 days, it probably can’t be done.”

All around him, Wylie’s colleagues popped up with examples of why something amazing can be done.

As a No. 1 overall pick from the 2017 draft, isn’t defensive end Myles Garrett supposed to be amazing?

“If he stays healthy,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said, “watch out.

“Earlier in camp, when we were running sprints, Myles didn’t run with the defensive linemen. He ran with the DBs and the wide receivers. Here’s this 280-pound lineman and they were having a hard time keeping up with him. I am just looking, going, ‘Wow.’ ”

Williams admits he loves Bradley Chubb, the defensive end half of Browns Nation seemed to want as the No. 4 overall pick. Williams laughs at Chubb’s “weakness” — he would have no chance trying to cover Antonio Brown. The Browns sorely needed a cover corner and spent the No. 4 on former Nordonia and Ohio State standout Denzel Ward.

Williams raved at how quickly Ward endeared himself to Browns veterans with his attitude. His talent?

“He’s one of the best press-cover guys I’ve seen at this level,” said Williams, who first worked in the NFL before Bill Belichick was hired to be coach of the Browns.

Williams said holdover Emmanuel Ogbah is more than a consolation prize after passing on Chubb.

“Knock on wood,” said Williams, “if Ogbah stays healthy, he’s going to really stand out this year.”

Williams seems jazzed about so much of what might be in his second year as coordinator.

By way of example, he called Jamie Meder, one of only two defenders (along with Christian Kirksey) who has played more than three years with the team, “one of the best run players in the NFL.”

Of safety Jabrill Peppers, who spent his rookie year on the warning track in center field, Williams said, “It’s so much fun having him in the box.”

Safeties coach Jerod Kruse said he sees Peppers living up to his status as a Round 1 pick.

“He’s better for having had that experience [of playing so deep],” Kruse said. “He was seeing it from the top down.”

Former Alabama quarterback Freddie Kitchens, the Browns’ new running backs coach, was hit by a vision in the final minicamp practice. It happened while running back Carlos Hyde was timing a run to explode through a crease at the exact right moment.

“The way he ran the ball there looked like the guy in Pittsburgh,” Kitchens said.

“The guy in Pittsburgh” is Le’Veon Bell, a No. 48 overall draft pick out Michigan State in 2013 now regarded as one of the top three running backs in the league. Hyde was a No. 57 overall draft pick out of Ohio State in 2014 who started for the San Francisco 49ers.

Kitchens, who spent recent years with Bruce Arians in Arizona, also has been handed rookie No. 35 overall draft pick Nick Chubb. Kitchens alluded to the fact Browns general manager John Dorsey has never been involved with drafting a running back as high as 35.
“I don’t know that John factored that in,” Kitchens said. “I know that Nick was sitting there at 35, and that John loved him, and I loved him.”

Speedster Antonio Callaway is supposed to be a fourth-round steal if he can get past off-field issues. He has looked the part when he has practiced, coaches say.

“The Callaway kid is stepping up,” said new special teams coordinator Amos Jones, eyeing the young wideout as a punt returner.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley suggested Tyrod Taylor is more than the latest starting quarterback.

“Tyrod has done a tremendous, tremendous job establishing himself as the leader of this offense,” Haley said. “His car is in its parking spot every morning when I get here and it’s there when I’m leaving.
“We threw a lot at him. I’ve been really impressed.”

Linebackers coach Blake Williams said he loves where his unit might be headed with Jamie Collins returning from injury and Mychal Kendricks signing on after starting for the Eagles in a Super Bowl win.

Williams talked as if there is no odd man out, even though someone will have to be in terms of playing time.

Of Pro Bowl “Mike” linebacker Joe Schobert, Williams said, “I feel like he grew three years in one year.”

He said Kirksey is so good at pass coverage that there’s no sense in replacing him with a safety on some passing downs.

“We’re really blessed with the linebacking corps,” Williams said.

For what it’s worth, Blake’s father, Gregg, has called his son “the best young coach I’ve ever had.”

Can things actually turn quickly for the Browns? Last year was so bad.

The tone among coaches coming out of minicamp was all good.

Josh Cribbs, who is still strapping on the cleats to perform his new role as an intern return-game coach, sounded ready to pull on some boxing gloves.

“I get offended when people talk bad about us,” Cribbs said.

There was no chance of Cribbs being offended as long as he hung out in Berea on Thursday.

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