NFC West: Thom Fermstad
As noted Monday, it's looking like someone forgot to consult the big guys.
Larry Fitzgerald would be a logical choice to represent the Arizona Cardinals. I'm not yet sure who will represent the San Francisco 49ers, but if it's Mike Iupati or Isaac Sopoaga, consider it a victory for the 300-plus-pound set.
Elsewhere around the division ...
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams restricted free agent Danny Amendola has fully recovered from the arm injury that ended his 2011 season. Amendola would like to participate fully in minicamps later this month. Thomas: "Amendola suffered a dislocated elbow bracing himself as he fell to the turf in the opener against Philadelphia. He also suffered damage to the triceps muscle in the same arm. Always gung-ho, Amendola was hoping once the elbow injury settled down he could return to action wearing a brace. But the triceps muscle suffered additional tearing while Amendola was trying to work his way back onto the field and he was placed on the injured reserve list Oct. 10 and subsequently had surgery to reattach the triceps to his elbow."
Also from Thomas: previewing the Rams' offseason workout program.
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle offers highlights from Seahawks general manager John Schneider's recent appearance on the station. According to Schneider, Matt Flynn's free-agent visit concluded with the quarterback attending the retirement party for longtime video director Thom Fermstad at a bar near team headquarters. Schneider: "He came over there with us and had a Budweiser with us and he was able to kind of see the inside, the whole building and the kind of family atmosphere. It was just a great way to end it. He congratulated Thom on his 36 years of service with the Seahawks and everything. And then he got on a plane and, quite honestly, I was very much at peace with it because we had a great visit and we knew what our situation was. In any situation like that all you can do is lay out all your cards and then that person is going to evaluate it and we were going to do the same."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic looks at how the Cardinals have sought value in free agency. Somers on Richard Marshall's departure from the team: "Their thinking was that nickel corners shouldn't make $5.3 million a year. So they didn't come close to matching, and Marshall left for Miami, where he presumably will start. His replacement, William Gay, comes at a far more reasonable price: two years, $3.2 million, including a $500,000 signing bonus. ... Marshall has 17 interceptions in his career, while Gay has three. That's a huge difference, obviously. Still, it's surprising the Cardinals were able to sign Gay at a reasonable price."
Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says third-down conversions have long been a problem for Alex Smith and the 49ers. Cohn: "Last season, Smith’s third-down play tanked inexplicably. He converted a mind-bogglingly low 28.11 percent of third downs and averaged 3.89 third-down conversions per game, ranking 31st. For reference, Tim Tebow averaged 3.92 third-down conversions per game in 2011."
Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News offers details on the 49ers' stadium groundbreaking, set for April 19.
It's not all about the technology, however.
Real people stand in towers high above practice fields, operating cameras like the one Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan was using when he suffered a fatal fall amid high winds Wednesday.
Day after day, practice after practice, video teams transfer images from on-field towers into computer systems, allowing coaches and personnel people to analyze players from multiple elevated angles.
I've often felt grateful to be standing on firm ground when watching practices instead of viewing from hydraulic lifts perched several stories above the field. Some platforms appear sturdier than others. I've seen towers sway in the wind, but have never heard of an incident like the one at Notre Dame.
The Seattle Seahawks' previous facility featured an inflatable practice bubble. High winds would sometimes cause the structure's walls to bow, sometimes far enough to make contact with the person shooting video. The team's new facility allows video director Thom Fermstad and others to shoot video from this vantage point when the team practices indoors.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
|Follow Aaron Curry behind the scenes as he goes from New York to Seattle after the 2009 draft.|
About one minute into the video, with Seattle on the clock with the fourth overall choice, Curry fields a call from Seahawks coach Jim Mora. Curry takes the news in stride, then turns to his mother and tells her it was the president on the line. Not bad.
At the 1:23 mark, Curry reaches down for a big handshake with a bearded man. It's Thom Fermstad, the Seahawks video director, who represents the organization at the draft each year.
At 2:50, former Seahawks safety Maurice Kelly, now the team's director of player programs, greets Curry in Seattle. We then see Curry meet Mora (2:58) and Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell (3:00) at team headquarters.
At 3:20, we catch a glimpse of what the experience means for a parent. Curry's mother beams when Mora, speaking at the news conference, calls her son "everything we thought he would be -- as a man, as a son, as a fiancée. This is a top-notch human being."
Linebacker Lofa Tatupu runs over to greet Curry when the rookie peeks inside the team's indoor practice facility (3:26). Curry then drops by the weight room, where he appears to say hello to linebackers Will Herring and D.D. Lewis (3:29). The video concludes with Curry visiting Qwest Field.
Speaking of visits: The Seahawks did not bring Curry to Seattle before the draft, a reminder that pre-draft visits do not always lead to post-draft ones.
Curry makes his on-field debut when the Seahawks open their three-day post-draft camp Friday.