Another first poster here (must be something in the weather). Born the year after we won our last premiership.
I think the biggest difference I see is that this year, and in more recent weeks, we have been playing 'scared'. By that I mean without confidence or trust in themselves and each other.
With confidence, players can run forward and zone off to create space and options - free-flowing football that we saw last year. Without, they are too scared to leave their direct opponent in case there's a turnover and they're exposed the other way. Kicks are too careful, or just kicked to the most likely area (ie straight down the line) where the opposition can easily predict and pick off. And the worse things get, the less confidence there is until, players are out there for themselves trying to protect against being cut or traded. And that just reinforces their insecurity.
You don't play senior AFL without incredible commitment and level of skill, so I don't think it's as simple as trading our way out - again.
So while I agree we need some personnel changes, some injuries to get better and the other things, but what is needed most is an attitude shift. Some way they can be confident that making a mistake won't be fatal, that taking a risk might pay off, that trusting your team-mate builds up everyone.