Plunging standards: The Swans have a recovery session at Clovelly Beach in Sydney on Monday.

Plunging standards: The Swans have a recovery session at Clovelly Beach in Sydney on Monday. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

John Longmire has come under fire for the first time in his successful coaching career as Sydney co-captain Kieren Jack challenged himself and the team's star-studded midfield to lift the club out of its early season hole.

As the focus turned away from Lance Franklin, who had been cast as the whipping boy after previous losses, the Sydney coach was given a scathing critique by former AFL great Garry Lyon, who described the 2012 premiership coach as being the "worst on ground" for his performance in the coaches' box in the Swans' loss to North Melbourne.

Lyon questioned the Swans' decision to play big man Tom Derickx in the wet given North had withdrawn their second ruck, and was highly critical of the freedom given to defender Scott Thompson, who was widely adjudged as the best player afield.

"Big cross for John Longmire," said Lyon, a Fairfax columnist and former Melbourne legend, on the AFL website's Access All Areas show.

"They got it wrong at the selection table, they got it wrong with the way they structured up."

Lyon's comments come after retired Swans great Jude Bolton declared during Triple M's call on Sunday that the Swans had been "outcoached" and had "structurally not set up properly" against the Kangaroos.

The Swans conducted their post mortem of the match on Monday where it's likely their inability to adjust to the wet was identified as a key factor in their defeat.

But stats compiled by the AFL's official provider Champion Data show the Swans are no longer displaying their trademark hardness in and around the stoppages.

Regarded once as the clearance kings, the Swans have plummeted from fifth to 15th for contested possessions differential and fourth to 17th for clearances differential.

They have lost the contested possession count every game this season and won the clearance tally just once.

Their drop-off around the packs has also hurt the scoreboard. While they recorded on average 12.6 points more a game than their opposition last year from clearances - the second best in the competition - they are now 16th in that area, outscored by 15.5 points, which represents close to a five-goal turnaround.

Their defence, long considered one of the finest in the league, has also come under the hammer, conceding a score from 52 per cent of entries inside 50 - the sixth-highest this season. Last year, they were the most miserly in this department with scores from only 43 per cent of entries.

The Swans were the leaders for tackles inside 50 last year with 12.8 a game but are down to 13th with only nine this year.

That Gary Rohan leads this category with four despite playing only an average of 52 per cent of each game will be seen as a further indictment on the club's lack of forward pressure.

The Swans have also struggled to kick goals when they have the ball in their forward 50, down from 28 per cent (fifth) to 22 per cent (16th) this year.

Although Franklin has come under fire for his mediocre start to life at his new club, there are several other elite Swans whose output has diminished this season, including star quartet jack, Ryan O'Keefe, Daniel Hannebery and Jarrad McVeigh.

O'Keefe's slide has been most alarming. Excluding the first round when he wore the green vest as a late inclusion, the veteran is averaging only 12 possessions a game - well down on his 23 from last year.

The hard-running Hannebery has plunged from 25.3, his career-best last season, to 18.5, Jack has fallen from 25.2 to 17.3 while McVeigh has dipped slightly from 27.5 to 24.

A tagger earlier in his career, Jack said he needed to cope better with the increased attention he is receiving from rival clubs.

"That's something I need to work through," Jack said. "If your midfield gets on top it doesn't matter if you're getting tagged or not. We lost some key battles in the midfield, and it doesn't help when outside players like myself, Dan Hannebery, Lewis Jetta - they can't get on the end of it because you're not winning the midfield battle inside."

Meanwhile, Franklin will be free to take on Fremantle this week after having his match-day report for striking thrown out by the AFL's match review panel.