Alex Wakely admits other counties have caught up with Northants in the Vitality Blast.
But the Steelbacks skipper says his side haven't lost their edge, despite losing all three of their 20-over matches during the current campaign.
Northants lost to Leicestershire Foxes, Notts Outlaws and Lancashire Lightining in the space of just five days last week.
And they travel to in-form Worcestershire Rapids today (start time 5.30pm) seeking to kick-start their campaign.
Northants won the T20 competition in 2013 and 2016, as well as reaching the final in 2015.
But they didn't make it out of the group stages last season and are already struggling this time round.
"I just don't think we're playing very well at the moment," Wakely said.
"If you look at our whole season, we just haven't really got going at all - we're very disjointed.
"We have had a lot of injuries and it seems to be a familiar theme over the past couple of years where we're losing key players at key times.
"We've had no Adam Rossington, no Richard Gleeson and they are key members of our side.
"It's not an excuse, but it means you've got guys doing new roles and it's going to take them time to learn them.
"I do think sides have caught up with us a little bit.
"When we won it in 2013, we almost started again.
"We looked at the rules of how to play T20 and built it up from there.
"Sides have caught up with us and they're doing things we don't do.
"We probably don't have the options we had in those times.
"We had seven players who could bowl and seven players who could bat in the game and we're not quite there at the moment.
"I don't think we've lost our edge as such, it's just about trying to find a new edge, a new way to play T20 cricket.
"It's very dangerous if you stand still in T20 cricket because sides catch up with you."