Chargers camp: An evening affair

Under the lights – fitting with the debut of "Lights Out" Shawne Merriman – the San Diego Chargers took to the practice field in front of a huge crowd that had to border on 4,000.

"I was out here having fun and just taking what I learned from this morning and everything that got crammed in on me. I had to come out and perform.

The hot topic and Charger of affection was clearly number 91, Shawne Merriman. He showed his raw skill with explosion off the snap and stayed true to his word of wanting to learn as fast as possible by talking to the coaches after each snap.

The soon to be linebacker lined up primarily at defensive end, working on what he knows best. With the playbook just making its first indention in his hands, Merriman shadowed Steve Foley for much of the night, gathering any tidbit of advice that dropped off the shoulder pads.

With Ben Leber out of the lineup for at least two weeks, Merriman has a chance to overcome his rookie mistakes and enthusiasm – he slipped on one drill, dropped a pass on another and had to take ten pushups and was called offsides on a hard count – and turn it into productivity.

"I do everything 100 percent, even if it was a mistake," Merriman said after practice.

"There is a lot to learn but there is time to learn," admitted lineman Luis Castillo who is fighting his own battle to pick up the Chargers defense.

"He has a lot catching up to do," linebacker Donnie Edwards said. "Hopefully he can understand the defense and start helping out."

Lightning Quicks:

  • A few of the receivers complained about the lighting at the facility on Thursday and said they had a tough time picking up the ball.

    They did mention that they caught most of them, which prompted head coach Marty Schottenheimer to quip, "Think how much better you will be when you can see it clearly."

  • Schottenheimer was pleased with the way practice went on Tuesday evening and was happy to "break the routine" that comes with practicing at the same time each day.
  • The gap between Drayton Florence and Sammy Davis has widened since the start of camp and the lead is dwarfing what Secretariat was able to do. Florence dropped a shoulder on Tuesday evening, one that leveled Eric Parker and he also maintained his physicality by bumping anyone who was close.

    "I'm just taking it one day at a time and trying to prepare myself for the season," Florence said with a smile.

  • It is becoming increasingly clear that offensive Cory Lekkerkerker is overmatched at this level. He looks slow out of his stance and has trouble setting his feet for the block. It results in him lunging to make his blocks.

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