Bills' Rex Ryan says Richie Incognito has been 'outstanding'

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- One week after saying he has been "ecstatic" with Buffalo Bills rookie guard John Miller, coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday that veteran guard Richie Incognito has been "outstanding" in practice this spring.

"We brought in Miller with that expectation, we had him in our building for the mental part, which we felt good about, and the physical part we also felt good about," Ryan said. "That’s why we drafted him where we did, and let me tell you this: When you add Incognito on the other side, I think Richie looks outstanding.

"So he’s basically the second guard and that’s pretty good for him."

The Bills suffered from sub-par guard play last season -- general manager Doug Whaley said as much this offseason -- and so Ryan's praise is reflective of the Bills' optimism that they can improve from the four guards who made starts last season: Chris Williams, Erik Pears, Kraig Urbik and Cyril Richardson.

Williams has not participated in voluntary organized team activities this spring. Whaley told the Associated Press on Wednesday that he expects Williams to return for mandatory minicamp next week, adding that he has missed time while recovering from offseason back surgery.

In April, Ryan listed Williams among 10 players who were recovering from surgeries. However, Ryan has told reporters several times over the past month that he hasn't met Williams and hasn't been in contact with him. Meanwhile, the nine other players that Ryan listed are either participating in OTAs or rehabbing with Bills' trainers at the team facility.

Urbik lost his starting job last summer but returned to the starting lineup after Williams was placed on injured reserve and Richardson struggled in starting action.

"There is a great comfort I have with Urbik standing there as a backup center/guard," Ryan said. "In an ideal world, I don’t want him starting. Now if he has to start, that’s fine, he can, but I would much prefer the value of having him as a backup center/guard, and that’s an ideal situation for us."