For the second consecutive season, Essendon finds itself with its backs against the wall.
But after a heavy defeat to Greater Western Sydney in round one and a narrow loss to St Kilda on Saturday, senior coach John Worsfold is backing his side to respond.
"They've got a lot of character, this group, and I believe they're going to take on the challenge of fighting through it," Worsfold said in the aftermath of the match.
"They responded pretty well tonight off last week's disappointment around the contest. (We have to) believe in what we're trying to do and keep challenging ourselves to get better."
After losing the contested possession count to the Giants by 40, the Bombers won that stat by 14 today.
That desire to improve is what Essendon needs to show to climb out of its slump.
"It won't turn quickly if we concede and say, 'it's too hard for us'," Worsfold said.
"The only possibility of things turning around for us and becoming better is through commitment to hard work and enjoying the challenge.
"Get backed into a corner and you've got an option. Concede, or fight your way out."
The coach acknowledged his side's mistakes but was pleased with the intent.
"We asked the players to back themselves in today. They really played a bit inhibited last week and it was frustrating for parts of that, but I was pleased they were still backing themselves in," Worsfold said.
"Coming off last week's game, there's no doubt they had heightened nervousness maybe, and maybe a lack of confidence, but they really tried to take the game on and made some brave decisions.
"They messed up some things, but I'd rather see that than not looking like they're getting into a contest, like we saw last week."
Perhaps the most mind-boggling blunder was Kyle Langford running off the ground after conceding a free kick to Jack Lonie, allowing the Saint to bolt away with no-one manning the mark.
"I don't think he did it deliberately. It was just an honest misread of what was happening in the game and he got the feedback immediately on the bench by his teammates, and he owned that," Worsfold said.
Worsfold was puzzled by the ball movement, which was contrary to what was taught over the summer.
"Some of our entries looked really solid but a lot of the time, we weren't getting the ball where we want it," Worsfold said.
"We've got to challenge the players to say 'why, under pressure, is the ball landing in these areas as opposed to where we had a focus on in pre-season?'.
"We'll try to get to the bottom of that and see if the players are seeing that themselves and make a stronger commitment to that."