Ron Rivera knows he's entering a pivotal season with the Carolina Panthers.

"I have to evolve, I have to change," Rivera said. "This team has to evolve, this team has to change. ... I've got to step up. I've got to set the standard."

Rivera has already made some offseason changes to his staff. The Panthers lost seven straight games in the second half of the season to collapse from 6-2 to out of playoff position.

"The biggest mistake, the biggest realization, I wish had come (earlier)," he said. "But we were playing well. We were winning. It's not like we were getting blown out, other than in Pittsburgh. I missed it. That's why I missed it. If, after Pittsburgh, Detroit had been a 17-point blowout, now all of the sudden the bells and whistles are going off."