Placekicker Robbie Gould is prepared for Sunday's cold weather in Green Bay:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It's very possible the Giants could not have a better placekicker for their postseason opener than Robbie Gould.
The 12-year veteran has experience kicking in the playoffs, in Lambeau Field, and in cold weather. All those factors will come into play on Sunday when the Giants visit the Green Bay Packers in an NFC Wild Card Game in historic Lambeau.
"It'll be exciting to go out there and compete against these guys," Gould said this week. "I have a lot of familiarity with them just because I've competed against them so many times."
That he has. Gould spent his first 11 seasons with the Packers' archrivals, the Chicago Bears. He played 22 games against Green Bay, including the 2010 NFC Championship game, and made 32 of 35 field goal attempts against them. Gould has played 11 games in Lambeau, where he hit 17 of 18 attempts, with a long of 47 yards. And he has played in six postseason games, and made all six of his 3-point tries.
And Gould is accustomed to the cold. Which should be helpful, because it will be cold. The forecasted high temperature in Green Bay Sunday is 11 degrees. Wind chills could plunge below zero.
"As a veteran kicker, he's been through that experience before," special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said. "Probably not as cold as it's going to be, but close to it. Once it gets cold, it's cold."
Gould insists it will be just another day at the office, even if it happens to be in football's famed frozen tundra.
"What's interesting is that nothing changes for the punter and the kicker," Gould said. "They really don't. It's just a matter of managing every situation to the best of the ability for that day in either direction. For these guys (the offensive and defensive players), the tempo, the speed, the physicality of the game is going to obviously increase, significantly. We're going to see that like we've seen that the last couple of weeks. For me, nothing is going to change. I'm just going to go out there, trust my tempo, trust my technique. I have a lot of great guys around me that have been doing a great job blocking, snapping and holding."
While his job remains the same in harsh conditions, Gould knows he must be aware of some vital variables.
"The ball is definitely harder," he said. "It's like kicking a brick. It's not going to go as far, and it obviously doesn't expand as much when you hit it like it would in a dome or a warm weather area. The ball is just not going to be able to travel as far. You just have to be able to manage the hang time and the distance on kickoffs. Making sure that you give the guys on kickoff really good hang and with good direction. On field goals, you just have to know what your distances are, and know how far your limits are. Just trusting that you hit a good ball and it will go in."
Gould made his Giants debut against the Rams in London on Oct. 23, and has played 10 games overall. He has connected on all 10 of his field goal attempts, and 20 of 23 extra point tries. He kicked eight of those field goals in the season's last four games, including four in Philadelphia on Dec. 22. Last week in Washington, his 40-yard field goal with 2:12 remaining provided the deciding points in the Giants' 19-10 victory.
"He's a professional, just like we hoped and expected," said special teams captain and 10-year snapper Zak DeOssie. "He comes in here and does what he needs to do. In the life of a specialist, you want to hire guys that you don't have to worry about. Robbie fits that mold perfectly. He knows what he has to do well and he gets it done."
Now the Giants need Gould to get it done in hostile Lambeau, where Gould has always been the enemy. But he loves the place.
"It's actually one of my favorite places to play in the NFL," he said. "The irony of last week and hitting the game-winner is a former Bear kicked both the Packers and the Lions into the playoffs (by eliminating the Redskins). That's kind of different. I think it's a place you look forward to playing every year, especially when you're in the NFC North. Usually the rivalry between the Bears and Green Bay is pretty good. There is some history with the Giants going up there in the playoffs, too. I'm excited to be a part of it and be back in the playoffs. I think it's great for this organization and the players in the locker room."
Gould's fourth trip to the playoffs – and first since 2010 – is particularly meaningful, because he was cut by the Bears on Sept. 4 and didn't have a job until he signed with the Giants on Oct. 20.
"I'm excited," he said. "I waited for the right team with the right opportunity. Obviously, that decision has been pretty good for me. Whether it be the guys in the locker room and playing for an organization like the Giants, or going back to the playoffs and hopefully having a chance to win the Super Bowl is pretty exciting. Once you get a taste of the playoffs, you want to go back every year. It doesn't happen. To get an opportunity like this with this team is kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity. Hopefully we go out, play well and capitalize on it."
*The Giants' injury report is unchanged from yesterday. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle) was the only Giants player who did not practice today. Five players were limited: cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins (back) and Coty Sensabaugh (ankle), defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (hamstring), tight end Jerell Adams (shoulder) and safety Nat Berhe (concussion). Tackle Bobby Hart (forearm) practiced fully.
*Two Packers missed practice, cornerback Quinten Rollins (neck/concussion) and running back James Starks (concussion).
Photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Packers