CARLTON defender Jacob Weitering has conceded the Blues are "struggling" with team defence this season, but believes the playing group must be doing more to protect its under-pressure coach David Teague.
The club again broke even in several key statistical scoring categories in Saturday night's disappointing defeat to Greater Western Sydney, having just three fewer inside-50s and only one less scoring shot despite losing by 36 points.
However, the team was caught-out defensively in several significant moments and paid the price for non-existent midfield pressure as the Giants finished +39 for disposals, +8 for clearances, +49 for marks and +38 for tackles.
SAAD OR HIND? What the numbers say
But Weitering said the defensive group was not being failed by the players higher up the field, saying it's up to the entire team to take responsibility for the downfalls that are currently plaguing yet another Carlton campaign.
"I wouldn't say we're being let down, because at the end of the day it's probably my guy or our players as defenders that are kicking the goals … we can stop it on the last line," Weitering said.
"It's coming down to execution at the moment for us. We are struggling with the team defence and it's something that we are reviewing and training each week. But it is quite frustrating.
"I look back to last year and we were probably one of the better defensive teams. We conceded low scores and when we lost, we didn't lose by a whole lot.
IT'S EASY TO POINT TO ONE PERSON Cripps backs Teague
"If we can get back to that and being in games, we've got some guys like Harry McKay who are starting to finish in terms of kicking goals and our small forwards are also coming on … we're not that far away."
Weitering wouldn't be drawn on whether Carlton's defensive issues were mental problems or tactical and technical failings, saying the team has to adapt better to the way modern systems are being introduced.
"You can't put it down to one thing," Weitering said.
"It's a very easy thing to play one-on-one football and that's the way football has been played for 100 years. But guys like Alastair Clarkson and other different coaches have brought in a way to defend that everyone is taking on now.
"We're struggling with the execution of that at the moment. We've got to be selfless as players to come across and help each other. We're not doing that enough."
However, despite Carlton's issues across the board, the club's reigning best and fairest winner and former No.1 pick put his full support behind its under-fire coach and reiterated his belief that Teague is the best man for the job going forward.
"I look back to the reasons why 'Teaguey' got the job," Weitering said.
"It's his qualities as a person, his perseverance, the relationships he's built, the respect he's got and the way he can relate to us as players. He played himself at this club, which gives him even more pride.
"He wants to see us and this club rise to where it was before and that's winning premierships. Again, we believe fully in Teaguey and he believes fully in us. We've got to take some accountability as players and start playing well on his behalf."
Indeed, Weitering says some of the criticism Carlton has copped in the wake of its fifth defeat in its last six matches against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night should be falling on the players – not the coach.
"When things are going wrong and things aren't going well, it's human nature to pin that on someone and to blame someone," Weitering said.
"At the moment, he's copping a lot of it and he's shouldering the load. I'd prefer for that to be put on the players, because we're not going out there and performing at the moment.
"We're not winning games and we're not defending as well as we could for four quarters and we're not putting scores on the board. We've certainly got to shoulder it a little bit more.
"'Teaguey', throughout this period and especially after the bye, he came out with a very positive mindset. We reviewed quite heavily a few issues for us and we'll be training those over the coming weeks."