With several major roster moves that included bringing back familiar faces Julius Peppers and Captain Munnerlyn, as well as the addition of talented rookies Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, the Panthers appear to have all the pieces in place for an impressive season.
But it won't matter who suits up for Carolina if they don't get it done on Sundays.
“I think if we play really well, we can win a lot of games. If we don’t play well, we won’t win a lot of games," Kuechly said, bluntly. "I think last year we didn’t finish, that’s what hurt us last year. If we can finish this year we can be alright."
The Pro Bowl linebacker knows it’s a long season. If the highs of 2015 and the lows of 2016 taught him anything, it’s that no matter what side of the winning or losing you’re on it’s important to stay grounded.
“Just stay on course, stay level headed. Not to get too high, not to get too low. The best way to do it is to take it all in stride. That’s one thing coach does a good job with is he’s right there, and he’s going to stay constant. And I think that helps guys a lot,” Kuechly said.
Rivera isn't the only one Kuechly leans on for advice. Look no further than teammate and fellow linebacker Thomas Davis, who's spent his entire 12-year career in black and blue.
“I think I was very fortunate to have a guy like Thomas here when I first got here. He’s like an older brother that I have in the football world. Obviously, he shows me how to play football, but he’s just a good person you can emulate a lot from him," explained Kuechly. "We have a good, competitive relationship and I think I’m very fortunate to have a guy like him on the team."