The Buffalo Bills have gotten a career year out of offensive guard Richie Incognito. As such, general manager Doug Whaley is talking up the former instigator of the “Bullygate” scandal in Miami as a potential NFL Comeback Player of the Year candidate.
Speaking in a recent radio interview (via the team website), Whaley talked up Incognito’s outstanding play.
“He’s had better guard play this year than I’ve seen scouting him for the last five or six years,” Whaley said. “He’s impressed all of us, and I would say . . . he should be a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. He has to be mentioned as a top five guard in the league.”
Nobody who studies Bills game tape would argue Whaley’s first point. Incognito has been tremendous for Buffalo this year, sparking a rushing attack that has taken off since the bye week, averaging 165 yards per game.
LeSean McCoy, who’s been battling injuries throughout the season, has benefited from the holes opened up by Incognito. He’s averaging 4.6 yards per carry and is on pace to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.
“The line up front lately has really just been putting it down, they really have,” said McCoy. “Whatever thing they are dealing with, no matter who it is, [they] get the running game going.”
By all accounts, the leader of the line is Incognito, who has been a model citizen in Buffalo.
However, given the way the offensive guard left the game following his role in bullying fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin in Miami, many will likely balk at honoring him as a potential Comeback Player of the Year.
Unlike others who will be competing for the award due to injuries, or in the case of Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who came back from Hodgkin lymphoma, Incognito was forced from the game because he was a bad teammate.
That said, if he truly has reformed his ways and is now on the path of righteousness as a model teammate and respected team leader, then perhaps Incognito really does deserve to be honored for his turnaround.
Many people could certainly provide compelling arguments for both points of views, and it’s going to be interesting to see if he is recognized for making the most of his second chance.