The sum of City's defensive parts should add up to rather more than a 3-1 defeat at Pride Park.
That's the bottom line.
Look through tonight's team-sheet and, defensively, that's as good as it gets right now with John Kennedy stepping into Gary Doherty's shoes and Dejan Stefanovic masterminding operations in the middle with the 'best full-back pairing in the league' patrolling either flank.
Slam David Marshall in behind that back four and, on paper, they look the part.
But as City chief Glenn Roeder picked over the bones of tonight's 3-1 defeat – his 50th game in charge of the Canaries – and it was clear that his immediate concern was the ease with which the Rams were able to rack up their latest success over Norwich.
Or rather the ease with which someone of Rob Hulse's ilk was allowed to slam a big, 29th minute header home and give the visitors the proverbial mountain to climb after Paul Green's earlier opener.
“You'd like to think one of your centre-backs would be marking rather than marking space,” Roeder told the club's official website afterwards. “Space never scores goals, goals are scored by players.”
That said, he gave both the delivery – from Kris Commons – and the scorer every credit. “A fantastic cross” and “a terrific header” were his exact words as Norwich's back-to-back home wins against first Wolves and then Doncaster counted for so little back in the East Midlands tonight.
Green's opener, likewise, did little to impress the manager. “The first goal was poorly defended – which happened too often during the game,” said Roeder.
“The ball was getting to their strikers from throw-ins far too easily – we allowed the ball to get into Ellington, he turned and the ball goes into the back of the net following a very decent cross and a very difficult one to defend against.”
All of which tonight found Norwich stuck firmly in 18th and with the delightful prospect of an away trip to Burnley looming this weekend, City's hopes of pushing themselves further up into the mid-table pack may have to wait a-while. That said, this side can rip the league leaders apart.
They also put themselves within sight of a decent comeback after Kennedy pulled a goal back just after the hour-mark. For once the boot was on the other foot – Norwich actually scoring from a set-piece play as the on-loan Celtic star grabbed his first goal in Canary colours.
“Credit to Norwich,” said Paul Jewell afterwards. “They came here and had a go which meant it was a very open game going from end to end.
“I felt we were creating the better chances and at 2-0 we were in control of the game, but were a bit lax at times and at risk of them getting back into it.”
Which City duly did – only for on-loan Porto striker Przemyslaw Kazmierczak to wrap up proceedings ten minutes from the end.
By which stage skipper Darel Russell was back up front again after the on-loan Antoine Sibierski failed to reappear for the second period. Ditto Wes Hoolahan; he made way for Matty Pattison.
And therein may lie one of the on-going problems.
For having made the point beforehand that Derby had adopted a far more direct approach to their play of late, Roeder could only watch in frustration from the touchline as the Rams rammed that point home.
Hulse and Ellington are both big 'units'; sling enough early balls into them – particularly if they come with the kind of extra quality that a Commons can deliver – and you have a big job to do defensively.
Conversely once Sibierski disappears from the fray and against the 'big battalions' of the Championship, the Canaries continue to struggle. Indeed, the Frenchman himself is not the most robust of centre-forwards; going in elbow-first is not his first instinct.
Yes, on occasion, when everything clicks City can pass their way out of such physical trouble and deliver the kind of result and performance that they did against Wolves.
But that's when it clicks. When it doesn't, that's when the big boys can have their cake and eat it.
Whether the Canaries have either the inclination or the personnel to do a Jewell and re-configure their style of football to the 'Championship way' is, of course, another matter.
In every likelihood, Roeder will stay true to his playing roots and will look to pass and move ahead of reverting to heave and hope. But on nights like this that's his dilemma – if you can't beat them, is it better to try and join them?