The pads were knockin', the fans were rockin'

What happens when you cage a band of beasts and starve them for six months? On day three of training camp, Chargers fans found out. Head Coach Norv Turner adorned his men in pads, let them loose, and watched a beautiful battle ensue.

Just like days one and two of training camp, the Chargers kept with the routine in the warm up drills: from the guided passing and timing routes of the backs and receivers, to the foot work techniques of the defensive secondary and linebackers, and the coverage and blocking schemes of the big uglies grinding the dirt in the trenches.

However, today was markedly different. With this being the first practice in full pads, the palpable energy was noticed not only by the players and coaches but in the fans. The players were no longer puppets going through the motions. They were now sporting their armor and ready for battle, preparing mentally and physically to do what they do best -- play football.

In the midst of the excitement, not even 45 minutes into practice, Miguel Merrick was slammed to the ground during a running drill and lay on the ground grabbing his knee. He limped off the field 10 minutes later and did not return for the remainder of the practice. This appeared to be the first injury during the daily grind of training camp. Furthermore, Craig Davis was not dressed out but was seen in street clothes on the sidelines acting as spectator with Eric Parker, who has yet to grace the field with his presence the entire camp thus far due to a toe injury. Davis was limited during Mini Camps and offseason coaching sessions by a nagging groin injury.

Because Davis and Parker were not dressed out, rookie Legedu Naanee was allowed more reps with both the first and second teams, displaying the versatility for which he is so admired by the coaching staff. Lining up occasionally at tight end and frequently split out wide at receiver, his size, speed, and strength make him comparable to Antonio Gates. All of those traits were on display as he beat the defense and caught a 45-yard toss from Philip Rivers during a nine-on-nine passing drill.

However, the crowd was even more excited and the stands stood cheering when Antonio Cromartie intercepted Billy Volek's pass, making the grab look so effortless and natural. That was the first of his two interceptions of the day, bouncing back from his less-than-stellar practice yesterday. He was anywhere and everywhere on the field today, from kick returns and pass break-ups, once again displaying the athleticism that has the fans drooling to see him on the field.

The highlight of practice came during the offensive line pass protection drill - when left tackle Marcus McNeill not only denied Shawne Merriman access to the quarterback but left Lights Out flapping around on the ground like a fish out of water.

Lightning Quicks: Danny Murphy is also covering training camp for, posting his comments exclusively on the Premium Message Board. Subscribers can click here to read his articles!

Additionally, Michael Kranzler is providing breaking news from Chargers camp at

Finally, Dominic Kingdamo is offering up the latest from Chargers Park on's MySpace page. Click here to read his analysis!

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