He doesn’t look at the yard line. He doesn’t look at the scoreboard. He doesn’t look at the clock.
This season, when the Giants call upon Aldrick Rosas to make a big kick, he really has no idea how big it is. That’s because he made the decision before the start of this season to block out everything but the ball and the goalposts when he steps onto the field.
“It’s a mentality, a routine,” said Rosas, who is in his second year with the Giants. “I look at my spot. It’s always going to be on a corner of the hash. I don’t look at the numbers. I don’t look at anything else but my spot and the goalpost and I can kinda gauge how far it is.”
But he doesn’t know for sure. And that’s on purpose.
Rosas, 23, made this change in his routine this past summer after a shaky first year with the Giants. He heads into Sunday’s game against Chicago as one of the league’s most reliable kickers. He is 23-for-24 on field-goal attempts this season (.958, tied for second in the league), including 3-for-4 on attempts of at least 50 yards.
Last week against the Eagles, Rosas would have been called upon to attempt a tying 62-yarder if officials had made what the Giants thought was a blatant tripping call on the final play of the game. Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey believes that the kick was in his range. Rosas kicked a 51-yarder earlier in the game and his career best is 53 yards.
“He’s strong,” McGaughey said. “This kid can hit it from — this is my personal opinion — I’ve seen him hit it from 65. I’ve seen him barely miss it from 68. Just a nice, smooth, easy swing. He’s a talented kid. Has a really strong leg. His upside is tremendous.”
It was his potential and upside that made the Giants stay with Rosas after a rookie season in which he converted 18 of 25 field-goal attempts, a 72-percent rate that put the Giants 31st in the league.
Rosas said he knew he had to make some changes in the offseason, so he stepped away from the game, spent some time with his infant daughter and thought about how to get back into his comfort zone.
“I feel every one of us in the league can kick 60-yard field goals when we are at home messing around in the backyard,” Rosas said. “The hard thing is to get in the mindset of putting it in a game when your team needs it. I started thinking about how to do that, and I just came up with this nice little routine now where I feel I’m just out in my backyard kicking and having a little fun.”
Rosas takes the same mentality into the pregame warm-ups and practice. That’s why he has no idea what his range is when reporters ask him. He doesn’t ever pay attention to where he is kicking from. He feels that if the Giants are sending him out to make a field goal, his job is to make it.
“Doing this gives me a sense of calmness,” he said. “I can line up and really enjoy it. I can be in the moment. I don’t have to think about numbers. I don’t have to think about anything but this is what I love to do.”
Notes & quotes: Tight end Evan Engram (hamstring) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (neck) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game.