Omari Hand: Part of a numbers crunch on the defensive line. Hand had 11 tackles, one sack, one pass broken up and one fumble recovery during the preseason. He was instrumental in a Drayton Florence 96 yard interception return as he hit Ken Dorsey as he delivered the ball against San Fran. That hit caused the ball to go up into the air and into the arms of Florence. With the return to health of the defensive line and the uncertainty of Leonardo Carson's status for the year, the team kept Jacques Cesaire instead of Hand on the active roster.
Cleo Lemon: Lemon outplayed Seth Burford all preseason and was thought to have the third quarterback spot wrapped up. Then the team decided to go with two quarterbacks to preserve another spot on the active squad. Lemon completed 20 of 39 passes (51.3%) for 267 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions during the preseason. He showed nice pocket awareness and the work he did in training camp, staying after to work with Brian Schottenheimer, paid off.
Kris Dielman: His senior year in college was his first full time year as a lineman playing the tackle spot. His Coach hailed him as the MVP of his defense and he played with a severe ankle injury all season. Another ankle injury this season saw his time limited. Dielman worked hard in training camp and despite not making it through the first round of cuts, he has the most upside of any practice squad member.
Grant Mattos: Mattos caught six passes for 87 yards (14.5 avg.) and team-high two touchdowns. He showed soft hands and when you look at receivers, you always take the hands guy first. His route running is solid; he just did not get the exposure, at USC or with the Chargers, to warrant an active roster spot. With the talent ahead of him in college and the Pros, he was a wise investment as he continues to learn what he can and cannot do.
Mackenzie Hoambrecker: Last year the Chargers held punter Bill LaFleur on the practice squad and he was eventually signed by the 49ers. This year they drafted Mike Scifres to eventually take over the punting duties. Had LaFleur made it through the season we could have been looking at a different scenario that saw LaFleur as the punter. The same philosophy could apply to this season. Hoambrecker has the talent to kick long field goals and may just need some time to work on mechanics and kicking off infield dirt. Hoambrecker connected on three of three PATs and two of four field goals. He made kicks of 53 and 36 yards and missed others from 53 (wide left) and 32 yards (right upright). It is not hard to imagine Hoambrecker kicking full time for the Bolts next year.
Denis Savage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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