Gould Kicking into High Gear

Chicago - Bears kicker Robbie Gould was letter perfect against the Atlanta Falcons with field goals from 35, 29 and 39 yards respectively. The always-unflappable Gould credited practice sessions held earlier in the week at Soldier Field for most of his success.

"Brad (Maynard) and I decided as soon as we heard the weather forecast for Sunday night that some extra sessions might be in order well before game time," Gould said. "And once I was out there tonight, I really felt that extra time on site had paid off."

Gould took extra care to alter his technique to fit the weight and configuration of a colder football.

"You'd hardly believe what we kick is the same object that we kick in warm weather," Gould said. "That's because really it's not. A cold weather football is like a rock. It's heavy and hard and often doesn't go where you think it should once the kick is complete. A football in hot weather tends to be much more pliable and somewhat lighter. The trajectory is almost the complete opposite of what we had tonight.

"The weather also affects the snap. If the ball is heavier to me, it is the same problem for the snapper. That's another reason why we put so much time into our practice sessions. You don't want surprises in those game time situations."

The other matter that Gould and Maynard had to address was the problem of keeping warm and loose during the extended periods of time when they were not on the field.

"You want to be sure that you're ready to go in," Gould said. "Otherwise there's the danger of straining a muscle. I walked up and down the bench area, trying to stay near the heater, as much as I could. Other times I'd sit on the bench itself, which is amazingly warm. I was also careful to keep the long coat on most of the time. You just can't take a chance on getting chilled. It's hard enough to keep a good technique without that extra factor to worry about."

Gould did miss a 44-yard attempt, but it wasn't because of the distance. The kick sailed just right, which leaves him 2-of-7 on attempts of 40 yards or longer. He's 17-of-18 from inside 40 yards and 19-of-25 overall with 72 points.

"I think I could have gone from further out than that if necessary," Gould said. "After all there was no noticeable wind out there. That can really play havoc with your distances. But the guys got me reasonably close every time. That always helps the confidence level."

While Gould won't have to worry about weather when the Bears travel to meet the Minnesota Vikings on New Years Day, he will have to play in similar conditions to what he experienced against the Falcons when the Bears head to Green Bay for the Christmas Day game. But he's already planning ahead.

"I've checked the long range forecast and so far it says that the air could be around 30 degrees that night," Gould said. "That's almost the tropics compared to what we had today. I'll practice outside as much as I can this week just so I keep my cold weather technique in shape, however. You never know what can happen a day or even a few hours before a game."


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