England great Neil Back has warned Brian Ashton "the clock is ticking" on his reign as head coach.
An horrendous capitulation against Wales and a poor 23-19 victory over Italy have left England needing to restore credibility in the remainder of the RBS 6 Nations.
Next they travel to Paris where they will face a rejuvenated France, who remain on course for the Grand Slam despite using the championship to blood new players.
Ashton was reappointed England boss on a one-year rolling contract last December but Back is sure his tenure will be terminated early if the World Cup finalists continue to struggle.
"England must be significantly better in their remaining 6 Nations games," he told his column on Eurosport.
"If they don't Brian's job will be on the line - no easy thing when you consider they have France away in their next game.
"But we have to see a lot more from England in Paris.
"There is no point making changes to the coaching set-up before the end of the tournament and we have to take into account the injuries.
"But I do believe the clock is ticking. We must see some sense to the madness."
Back, who won 66 caps, is uneasy with the response of England's players to their unconvincing display against Italy and claims they should have been more self-critical.
"It also worries me that the players were not totally honest with themselves or the public after the game in Rome," he said.
"Some of their comments gave the impression that they are not setting the bar high enough.
"Winning is vital and they were right to acknowledge that they had beaten an Italy team that is proving a real handful.
"But they should have admitted that the performance was not good enough and that they need to improve standards.
"No-one would have condemned them for such an honest appraisal."
Back is also scathing of former England team-mate Jonny Wilkinson, who kicked 13 points against the Azzurri but struggled against Wales a week earlier.
"The second half against Italy was crying out for someone to give England field position but I'm sorry to say we looked clueless," he said.
"Some of the blame has to be directed at Jonny Wilkinson as he pulls the strings for England.
"Jonny had a good start to the game and showed good awareness with the chip that set up the try.
"But in terms of field position and controlling the play I think overall he had another poor game.
"I appreciate he played a large part in both tries, but I still worry about his ability to bring his backs into play."