Dublin defender Philly McMahon says it's wrong to expect perfection from the All-Ireland champions or to expect them to be consistently 'hammering teams'.
The six-in-a-row Sam Maguire Cup holders retained the Leinster title by beating Kildare last Sunday though the eight-point winning margin was their lowest in a provincial final since 2013.
Allied to the difficulties they experienced in parts of the games against Wexford and Meath, it's led to suggestions that the Dubs are slipping back with Kerry currently the favourites for the All-Ireland.
"It's one of those things," said McMahon of the narrative that Dublin aren't playing as well as in previous years. "For me, you can only play and perform and then get on to the next phase. That's what the job is about.
"What other people think around that, in terms of what narrative is created because we're not winning by a certain number of points or because teams are getting purple patches, like, that's just the way the game is.
"You can't just have a perfect performance in every game. You can't just be hammering teams every game. It's just not the way sport works, in any field sport.
"For us, it's important that we keep growing each game, keep building our performances and keep learning. That's all that matters within our group."
McMahon himself, 34 next month, has struggled to nail down a regular spot in the Dublin defence. He hasn't featured in the Championship yet and came on as a sub in three of their league games. He was used as an impact sub in last year's Championship and last started a competitive game for Dublin in January of 2020 when they drew with Kerry in the league.
"I would say it's a different period rather than challenging or a struggle," said McMahon of his personal situation. "It's a different period for my career. It's kind of new, new for me, but also I've seen a lot of players go through this. You take learnings from those players and bring it in to what I'm doing and try to help the squad whatever way you can.
"What I've come to realise obviously is that there's only so much you can control at a certain point of your career.
"So no matter how fit you are or how well you're playing, you don't necessarily control if you're going to be playing or not because it depends on the boys in front of you, on how they're doing, it depends on what the management (think), on what kind of team you're playing against, there are lots of variables that feed into why you should be playing or why you aren't playing."