Don't look now, but the 2012 Packer season officially starts the day after tomorrow. I know, it snuck up on me a little bit too. I've only been counting down for the past three months. But I digress.
Every season has its own unique characteristics that set it apart from every other. I think it's interesting to take stock of a team at the beginning of a year and see what sort of things stand out about it, then see how those things grow and change throughout the year. For instance, last year everyone knew about the Packers' great offense. Aaron Rodgers was coming off a Super Bowl MVP performance to end the previous season, and it was exciting to see if he'd be able to build off that performance. (Spoiler alert: he did.)
This year's team also has its share of potential storylines. For instance, last year's defense made many spectacular plays, but really couldn't slow anybody down at all. This year, they've added quite a few new pieces that could put them in position to bounce back. Will Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson get the help they need to be able to bring their unit back to a high level of play?
Offensively, two positions jump out as the biggest potential story-makers. First, this season marks the first in over a decade where Chad Clifton is not manning the left tackle position. Who will step up and claim the spot? Marshall Newhouse was solid if unspectacular last year, and 2011 first round pick Derek Sherrod is waiting in the wings as a potential contender, although his rise to the starting lineup could be hindered by a badly broken leg sustained late last season.
Secondly, the wide receiver spot has more than its share of potential stories this year. Will Jordy Nelson build on his 2011 banner year? What sort of production can we expect from Donald Driver? Will Randall Cobb play a bigger role in the offense? And in training camp, what practice squad standout from last year will make the jump to the active roster this season?
The funny thing is, there's a good chance that the potential stories I've identified won't even be the defining dramas of this season.I guess that's why we're fans, though: just to see what happens.