Goff the glue of the Chargers line

Veterans fending off rookies – it happens every year. So when word spreads of a player getting some extra repetitions in minicamp, there is no shaking in a veteran's spikes. Early on is when the young players can get some snaps but when training camp rolls around it becomes a one-man show – and Mike Goff is part of that equation at the offensive guard position.

Brought in by the San Diego Chargers as an unrestricted free agent in 2004, Mike Goff became an instant steadying force on an offensive line that debuted two rookies. His role as mentor between Nick Hardwick and Shane Olivea proved advantageous and is still paying dividends today.

Head coach Marty Schottenheimer has often said, "the glue that kept the line together" when speaking of Goff.

Goff has been blessed with an uncanny ability to get the most out of himself and his teammates by being one of the hardest workers on the team. Not only does he host his linemen at his house to institute a sense of solidarity, he also puts up a solid performance on the field.

The Iowa alumnus doesn't have the athleticism that others may have from his guard position but he doesn't make many mistakes either. He knows his blocking assignments and uses his hands extremely well in pass protection and run blocking.

Goff remains one of the better pulling linemen on the team. He has the ability to come from his right guard position all the way across the line to be the lead blocker on the outside of the left tackle. It is no coincidence that the Chargers run left more than they do right for this very reason.

The Chargers offense also utilizes his strengths and often finds itself running his way on runs up the middle, preferring the hole between center and right guard to find LaDainian Tomlinson his running room.

"We still have to make the hole," Goff said in response to the ease of blocking for a back like Tomlinson. "When you have a back who can see that crease, it just makes our job easier."

Goff, who has never missed a start since joining the franchise, becomes more important this year with Philip Rivers to protect. Drew Brees used to be able to use his feet to avoid the rush but Rivers isn't as mobile and rushing a young quarterback in his first year as a starter is a sure way to see interceptions. As the protector of the interior of the line, creating a safe pocket for Rivers to deliver he passes through becomes vitally important.

This was the same line that was criticized coming into 2004 and stepped up their game. With all new parts, they came together and performed. After what has to be considered a down year in 2005, they are looking to reestablish themselves as an elite group.

"I think we believe in ourselves," said Goff.

They better. The expectations remain high for the coming season and Goff plays an integral role. He better keep an extra tube of Elmers in his locker, especially with the uncertain status of veteran Roman Oben.

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