After the players took Friday off, Chargers coach Norv Turner promised Saturday’s practice would be the best, most physical and competitive of camp. Saturday may not quite have lived up to Turner’s prepractice hype, but still he was pleased.

“It was probably our most demanding, most challenging practice we have had,” Turner said. “It was intense in terms of the drills we did, and it was very physical. I thought our guys made great improvement today.”

What stood out: QB Charlie Whitehurst (sore MCL) returned to full participation in practice for the first time since July 26. QB Kevin O’Connell, who was signed after Whitehurst’s injury, was released earlier in the day as anticipated. Whitehurst took nearly all of the snaps with the second and third string. Third-string QB Jarrett Lee (undrafted, LSU) mostly observed. Lee performed better than expected in the preseason opener. He was 15 of 22 for 235 yards and a TD. Lee also had some badly underthrown passes against the Packers, including an INT.

OT Anthony Davis (free agent, Destroyers of the UFL) and Michael Toudouze (free agent Colts), who signed Wednesday, participated in their first practice. Toudouze saw reps at RT but did not look sharp. Davis impressed at LT with the second-string.

Davis knows he is a long-shot to make the team but has a positive attitude about the opportunity. “When they called me I said, ‘I am going to get up off the couch,’” Davis said. “I am 32-years-old, so I am just going to go out there and play ball. The offensive line group has already been so helpful and welcomed me as family. I am just going to go out there and fight. I am happy to be here.”

Overall, Davis was pleased with his first day of work. “I was kind of hesitant on certain plays because I was still learning the terminology,” he said. “As far as pass protecting and pass setting, I felt it went pretty well.”

WR Robert Meachem had the play of the day by badly beating CB Antonio Cason for a 60-yard catch and run TD.

Position battles: RB Curtis Brinkley, Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle shared reps. Turner said he will fill the starting RB job from within with Ryan Mathews (broken clavicle) out for four-to-six weeks. FB Le’Ron McClain could alsoget more touches with Mathews is out.

Injury updates: WR Jason Barnes, WR Eddie Royal (leg) and G Johnnie Troutman (pectoral) worked out on the side and did not practice. Others not practicing: G/T Brandyn Dombrowski (foot, cyst), LT Jared Gaither (back spasms), FS Eric Weddle (hip), S Darrell Stuckey (stinger). Barnes, Mathews, Stuckey and Weddle were new additions to the nonparticipants list following Thursday’s game.

DT Antonio Garay was carted off the field during practice with an apparent sprained left ankle. WR Richard Goodman, OLB Jarret Johnson, WR Roscoe Parrish and OT PhilnTrautwein all returned to practice.

K Nate Kaeding missed practice after a death in the family.

What's next: The Chargers will practice Sunday afternoon from 3:45 to 6 p.m. at Chargers Park. It will be the last practice open to the public.

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