The Scout

Who will be the number three quarterback when the San Diego Chargers enter the 2003 season? Many had thought Rob Adamson may unseat Seth Burford for the role, but Burford is getting reps over in Europe where he has had his ups and downs. I dedicated some time to watching Burford in Europe after spending time on Adamson and the results are surprising.

Now I have never claimed to be some sort of super scout in football, although I was a scout for a hockey team. I do however watch a lot of film on players and love scouting college talent for some unknown reason. I frequently come up with my own scouting reports and pull them together for our Draft picks around this time each year (a final report if you will).

In practice I have given play to Adamson since Burford is over in Europe. This weekend I reviewed some games of Burford and was surprised with what I saw.

When the quarterback of a team is the tenth leading rusher in the league, you are either Michael Vick, or your offensive line is terrible. In Barcelona, where Burford plays, the latter is true. Burford has rushed the ball 39 times for 272 yards, or rather ran for his life more often than that. 32 separate times the quarterback in Barcelona has been sacked and 25 of those times it was Burford.

On Saturday, the last game of the season for Barcelona, Burford barely had time to breathe. What was evident was his strength with the ball in hand. Despite all the sacks he has endured he has fumbled just once and that was recovered by his own team. He has endured whack after whack and bounced around like a cue ball. On one play this past weekend, Burford was hit by two defenders and still managed to hold his feet, until the third defender in was finally able to wrestle him to the ground. The key to this all is he was always looking for someone to throw to or a lane to run in, yet when he knew he was destined to taste dirt, he did the smart thing and held the ball.

Another play Saturday sent him scrambling. With visions of a first down, despite his team being down by 26 late in the third quarter he lowered his shoulder and pounded a defensive back, gaining an extra 5-7 yards.

While he has thrown eight TD's, he has shown patience having just two interceptions. For the season he went 95-161, a 59% completion percentage, for 1002 yards. Amazing considering the pressure he endured.

What about his passing. His release is a little slow, and the ball tends to hang in the air a bit, something that will kill him when he faces the big boys. The tentativeness could be due to his inability to always be safe when he steps into his throws. It is a tenuous relationship he has with his offensive line.

One thing I was hoping to see was his deep ball. Burford has been reported to have a cannon of an arm, but I have yet to see it. It would have been nice to see him loft a few deep ones to see what sort of touch he has. Instead, he was relegated to shorter routes. Again I claim the lack of time to this. Without time he has no chance to throw the ball deep.

So what is the conclusion?

NFL Europe has been fantastic for Seth Burford. He has gotten a taste of the good (a few wins), the bad (not going to play in the World Bowl) and the ugly (running for his life).

Now with some good experiences and some bad he can move to a line that will protect him and receivers that will get open. Right now in the battle for the third quarterback on the Chargers roster, Burford has the claim. His confidence under fire and smart decision making are just a few reasons he will still be a Charger come September.

Denis Savage can be reached at or via the following link: Denis Savage

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