In one sense, Rivera's fate already has been moved out of his own hands. The Panthers eventually will hire a new general manager to replace Marty Hurney, and the new boss could decide Rivera is part of an old regime that must be flushed out.
Rivera is on shaky ground, but he said Panthers owner Jerry Richardson's seismic decision doesn't change his mindset.
"I always feel like I'm coaching for my job. It's just like when I was a player," Rivera said Monday, via The Charlote Observer. "I was drafted in the second round in 1984. For nine years, I came into that facility in Chicago, wondering if I was going to get cut. This is no different. I come to work like I did as a player, and that's to do the best I can."
Rivera needs to act aggressively here, so don't be surprised if an assistant coach or two ends up being sacrificed for the cause. Rivera sure sounded open to making changes when asked Monday.
"This is a process that we're going to go through as far as an evaluation and we'll see how things go," he said. "If that's what has to happen eventually, then yeah -- maybe that's what happens. Do we cut players? Yeah, if we have to, maybe that's what weâll have to do."
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.