Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe is adamant it's not all doom and gloom at Fremantle, but says the players are willing to wear some short-term pain in the belief it will lead to long-term success.
The Dockers will need to create AFL history if they are to reach the finals this year after losing their opening four games.
No team has reached the finals from a 0-4 start under the top-eight format, and Fremantle's hopes of bucking that trend appear slim given their recent form and long-term injuries to Aaron Sandilands and Harley Bennell.
Fyfe concedes Fremantle have struggled to cope with the new interchange cap, which has been reduced from 120 to 90 this year.
Coach Ross Lyon's attempt to turn his team into a more-potent outfit has fallen flat to date, with the Dockers conceding an average of 113 points per game this season - up from 72 last year.
Fyfe isn't willing to wave the white flag yet.
But even if the chance of finals football continues to diminish, he has full faith Lyon and his coaching assistants have implemented tactics to bring future success.
"We understand we're in a phase at our footy club where we're trying to adapt and grow for the long-term benefit to achieve a sustained period of success," Fyfe said on Tuesday.
"If that means some short-term pain, then we've got full faith in the coaching staff and our structure in the long term that we'll deliver.
"We're in the business of winning games of footy and that's what we want to do.
"But it's not all doom and gloom around here at the moment."
Fremantle skipper David Mundy (calf) is a chance to return for Sunday's bottom-of-the-table clash with Carlton at Domain Stadium.
The Dockers are a shell of the team who had stormed to last year's minor premiership.
But Fyfe said the team simply needed more time to learn Lyon's new attacking mindset.
"I think we have to pay a bit of a tax for adapting our game plan and trying to score more, because that's the way modern footy is going," Fyfe said.
"With the interchange rotations ... the game has changed and a lot of teams have adapted really well to that and our attacking model is certainly trending that way.
"But we're leaking heavily in defence, and that's a full 18-man issue. We'll continue to tighten up on that."
Fyfe dismissed suggestions Fremantle needed to regenerate their list, but said it would be good to add new players "as we go".
The 24-year-old was overlooked for the club captaincy in favour of Mundy during the off-season.
But with Mundy injured and the club in freefall, Fyfe said he had enjoyed taking on greater responsibility.