Richmond players have become pre-occupied with the result and are playing tentative football that is completely lacking in confidence, according to the club's chief executive, Brendon Gale.
The former centre half-forward said the club undertook regular reviews of its football department and there was no need to launch a broad-ranging review to articulate what has gone wrong and why.
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Richmond have come to a "very significant fork in the road in terms of the bigger picture", according to senior AFL writer Rohan Connolly.
"Clearly, where we find ourselves is very disappointing. We are disappointed and we feel the disappointment and frustration of our fans," Gale said.
He said the most pressing issue to turn around was the confidence and form of the players.
"We have to get back to simply playing better. I think our players are playing without confidence and at times I think there has been a pattern where we have played in a way that is mindful of the result first," he said.
"I think that's the way they have played and why are they doing that? That is the question and we are keen to find out why. We have to get back to taking the game on.
"All we want to see is us playing good positive football and winning and then the season takes care of itself.
"What happened over the last couple of weeks is completely unacceptable. We do not blame anyone, collectively we take responsibility."
Gale said the club was obdurate in its view of the path forward and had anticipated that the football department, as the most difficult section of the club to fix, had always been likely to confront setbacks. He said there was no need for a broad-ranging review of the football department.
"No one asks more questions of us than us. We are working feverishly to try to understand where we are. These things can be very valuable situations if we are honest and frank in our assessment. We are learning a lot about things,
"We review everything we do every week. This is one of the most accountable industries and we look extremely closely at everything we do.
"I think in the last few weeks we are finding out about our list and we will find out more as the season unfolds ... I think as you learn more about your list, it gives you a more refined understanding of what your needs are."
He insisted the coaching staff led by Damien Hardwick, who signed a two-year contract extension in the pre-season, was sound and that despite losing two senior assistant coaches in Justin Leppitsch and Wayne Campbell, the coaching and development of young players had not suffered.
"We have great people here of exceptional character and I have utmost faith of turning this around. The only thing that matters at the club is the football and it's not going as well as we would like it to be."