Entering the season before an alleged lockout takes place, the faithful fans of the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys face expectations that are seemingly sky-high.
Lovie Smith, and Jerry Angelo have come to grips with reality. Their respective fates as a Chicago's head coach and general manager is hanging by a mere thread.
With a revamped offensive scheme, much needed assistance at the defensive line, and secondary advances, there is no reason for failure in 2010. It's do or die for the former NFC champions, who were competing in the Super Bowl just four years ago.
In Dallas, head coach Wade Phillips will no longer be out of the hot seat if all falls apart for the undoubtedly talented squad that some consider America's team once again. Owner Jerry Jones is not one to keep losers around.
While all seems negative for the couple of underachieving teams, there are bright spots within each team's wide-out position.
Johnny Knox, the fifth round pick out of Abilene Christian last year, has become a fan favorite for the Bears.
Like Dallas favorite Miles Austin, a Monmouth University product, Knox wasn't looked upon as a future star.
While Austin had his breakout year at receiver, catching 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2009, Knox was quietly making a name for himself.
In the season opener, Knox immediately garndered some attention after he beat veteran cornerback Charles Woodson on his way to catching a 68-yard bomb against the Green Bay Packers.
After Knox's preseason performances and contribution in the first game of the year, the 140th overall selection went on to earn 45 receptions for 527 yards, five touchdowns, and a spot beside Austin in the Pro Bowl.
While Austin is Tony Romo's number one target coming into 2010, the Bears look to gain a new identity as a passing offense with Knox lining up against the second corner.
Chicago's radio analyst Tom Thayer says he believes out of the Chicago's youthful receiving corps, Knox should emerge as the most successful receiver.
Will Knox's numbers rival that of Austin's?
Well, Knox and Miles are similar in multiple ways.
- Blazing speed is something neither athlete lacks, with both players running under a 4.35 in their combines.
- Both Knox and Austin have been looked as a "natural receiver", opposed to a learning wide-out. However, let their play on the gridiron speak for that opinion.
- Large, rich schools are something Johnny and Miles aren't accustomed to, coming out of no-name facilities in Abilene Christian and Monmouth.
- Neither receiver was even heard of in their respective draft classes, while Miles was an undrafted free agent and Knox being drafted in the fifth round.
- Each target is a favorite in terms of their franchise quarterback, and can be used in multiple situations.
Knox is poised for a breakout year in 2010. Will he reach the likes of Austin when it comes to level of play?
Check out chicitysports.com, where this article was originally written. - Dustin Brown