CLEVELAND - Don't mention the problem the Browns offense has had with slow starts to quarterback Colt McCoy.
Frankly, he's tired of hearing about it, and he let his teammates know earlier this week.
"Honestly we've talked about it enough," McCoy said. "I told them today don't mention the words fast start. Just go play. Forget about it. Let's start fast in practice each day, and then when we go out there on Sunday let's go play. At this point that's all I know what to say. It is frustrating, trust me."
The 3-5 Browns, who host the 1-7 St. Louis Rams today, have scored just six combined points in the first quarter of their eight games. Their opponents have combined to score 58.
Those slow starts carry over to the beginning of the third quarter. The Browns have been outscored 32-9 out the gate in the second half, but they've managed to score 53 points in garbage time in the fourth quarter.
While McCoy doesn't like to hear talk about slow starts, he does like to use the words "trust me." He's as upset and tired of poor performances and losses as anyone, which was evident last Sunday when he was shown sitting in disgust on the bench during the 30-12 loss to the Houston Texans.
"To be honest, I don't think we need any extra motivation," McCoy said in reference to a question about wanting to win for coach Pat Shurmur, who was previously the Rams offensive coordinator. "We have two games in a row. Now we're playing back at home and a chance to get a 'W'. That's all we need, trust me."
It will be another game without running backs Peyton Hillis (hamstring) and Montario Hardesty (calf). The offense will also likely be without receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (concussion) and the defense won't have strong safety T.J. Ward (foot).
The Browns don't want to use injuries as an excuse. Every team in the NFL is dealing with injuries as the second half of the season unfolds.
"We could spend all day about injuries and what ifs and who wasn't here," McCoy said. "As a team you can't afford to do that. We don't have time to do that. We have to go out there and play with who we have. Let's get more familiar with what we're doing and cross our fingers that this group will stay together and we won't lose anyone else."
Shurmur spent plenty of time in the film room this week studying throws of McCoy and Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Not just throws from games played this season. He analyzed every throw both made during their final two seasons in college.
"With both quarterbacks, believe it or not, the scouting department put together a tape of all their throws," Shurmur said. "They all kind of ran together. When you make the decision to choose a quarterback you just don't kind of watch a half and go for a jog. You watch the games, but then you sit there and you watch throw after throw after throw."
Meanwhile, Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron was busy watching Rams running back Steven Jackson, who can be a terror for linebackers and defensive backs at 6-2 and 240 pounds. Jackson was limited in practice with a foot injury but should play.
"He's a very powerful back," Jauron said. "He's probably as big and as strong as anybody that we've seen to this point. He's got good breakaway speed. When he gets to the secondary he can go. He can give you issues."
The defense had been holding up fairly well against the run, but that changed the last two weeks. The San Francisco 49ers rushed for 174 yards two weeks ago, and the Texans had 261 last week. Arian Foster (124) and Ben Tate (115) both went beyond 100 yards for the Texans.
"We're giving up too much in the run game," Jauron said. "It's not total yards. It's never total yards. It's yards per carry. That's the deal. Last week it got out of hand; the yards per carry were just too big. I'm not concerned with total yardage, but the yards per carry, when that gets consistently out of whack then you've got issues."
After facing playoff-bound teams the last two weeks, the Browns should feel better about going against a team that's struggling. If the Browns don't win today, there will be plenty of unhappy players wearing orange-colored helmets.
"Nobody likes to line up and lose games," McCoy said. "We don't accept that. We don't like that."
Neither do the 60,000-plus fans that attend games.