The Chargers practiced Monday with their newly pared-down 53-man roster. This year, four undrafted rookies made the cut, continuing the tradition of at least 19 seasons where an undrafted rookie has made the team out of camp.
One of those four -- inside linebacker Nick Dzubnar -- said that on Saturday, his nerves grew as he neared the 1 p.m. PT cut deadline.
“I was kind of at peace with the fact that I had done everything I could do,” Dzubnar said Monday. “I felt good about all the film I put out there. So the morning was okay, but when it got to about 12 p.m., that last hour, I was sitting there with my girlfriend and I was getting a little sick. I was getting really nervous. That last hour was probably the worst part.”
Dzubnar impressed with his physicality and aggressiveness at the linebacker position and on special teams.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” he said. “This was always the goal, but man, it was a lofty one back in the day. This was something you dream of. I went to Cal Poly [San Luis Obispo] to get a good education and I wanted to be a four-year starter. You hope to have the chance to play in the NFL coming out of a smaller school and I was able to get that chance and able to capitalize on my opportunity. Like I said, it still doesn’t feel real. I’m on Cloud Nine and I don’t want to come down.”
Depending on who you talk to, one of the more surprising moves came at kicker, where undrafted rookie Josh Lambo beat out veteran Nick Novak for the job.
Head coach Mike McCoy said Lambo “never flinched” at any of his opportunities during the preseason.
Maturity is something that comes with leaving the house at 14-years-old, said Lambo, who left his family at that age to move to Florida and train with the U.S. Soccer Under-17 National Team. He devoted his life to becoming a professional athlete and went through an accelerated high school program to accommodate school and training.
“I’ve been training at the highest level of what I’ve done for nearly a decade,” Lambo said.
Other news and notes:
**Defensive lineman Corey Liuget did not practice Monday during the portion open to media, but did do sprints during that time.
**Linebacker Jerry Attaochu was practicing after missing all of last week.
**The Chargers announced their 2015 captains:
On offense: Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates (Malcom Floyd and King Dunlap will split duties while Gates is serving his suspension).
On defense: Eric Weddle and Corey Liuget
On special teams: Darrell Stuckey