Browns coach Pat Shurmur will never say it, and with good reason.
Why would he want to give the enemy any information on quarterback Colt McCoy? McCoy is dealing with enough problems as it is. He doesn't need to face teams that are spoon-fed information.
But there's nothing the Browns can do to keep opposing coaches from uncovering weaknesses by simply watching film. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis obviously did that enough last week to pick up a tendency that proved beneficial to his cause.
After a 23-20 win over the Browns, Lewis said that he knew McCoy would run after giving up on his first read. That means that McCoy isn't looking at second, third and sometimes fourth reads before bailing out of the pocket.
The reason is simple he's running for his life. The offensive line continues to be a sieve on pass protection, and McCoy's knee-jerk reaction when he takes a seven-step drop is to run for the hills the moment he sees right tackle Tony Pashos or left guard Jason Pinkston losing their one-on-one battles.
McCoy has shown to be a tough Longhorn, but there's only so much physical punishment a quarterback can take. If he stood about three inches taller and weighed close to 260 pounds (like Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger), he might be able to physically ward off defenders, but there's not enough HGH on the market to change his body type.
To McCoy's credit, he's athletic enough to turn a pass protection breakdown into positive yardage. You didn't realize how well he could run when he was at Texas because protection problems weren't a glaring problem.
Shurmur could address the issue by increasing the protection with seven-man and at times max protection with eight blockers, but that would undercut the philosophy of the West Coast offense. Shurmur doesn't want backs that stay home to block and occasionally run a hot route. He doesn't want the tight end loaded down with blocking responsibilities.
It's a difficult balance for Shurmur, whose hands are tied as the play-caller.
He needs McCoy to stay in the pocket and exercise all of his options, but try telling that to a player that has defenders coming at him from all directions and with one thought on their minds - crush the quarterback.
The Browns faced a similar problem with Brady Quinn, but in a different sort of way. Like McCoy, Quinn had to deal with constant pressure, but his way of handling it was to hold the ball and take too long to go through his reads. Eventually the result was a sack, incompletion or an interception.
McCoy is more athletic and more willing to run, not just for self-preservation but for significant yardage. It's an admirable trait, but one that comes with obvious hazards.
It doesn't help matters that four of the next five games are against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. McCoy struggled in late games against the Steelers and Ravens last season, and with the weather getting colder and the wind blowing stronger, it could get ugly.
The Browns have to be concerned about McCoy's physical status and his psyche. It's safe to say the breaking point has been reached 11 games through the season.
The best way to solve the problem is to have an offensive line that doesn't spring leaks so often, but you know how hard it is to find a good plumber these days.