Former CFL standout Freddie Bishop couldn't be happier to be back in the United States. Prior to Thursday's Jets' preseason opener against Jacksonville, Bishop had last played a game on American soil in 2012 as a college kid for the Western Michigan Broncos.
"It felt great," he said with a wide smile. "The craziest thing was hearing the national anthem. That little girl from School of Rock sang the heck out of that song. It was beautiful, I teared up and everything. I haven't heard it in a while because I heard the Canadian anthem all the time. There's nothing like coming home and being in the American atmosphere, hearing the national anthem. It was awesome."
While he's still adjusting back to the US, there's work to be done on the field. The CFL abides by a different rulebook than the NFL and Bishop highlighted one rule that affected his game the most — the defense needs to line up one-yard off the line of scrimmage.
"You're able to get to your moves a lot quicker here," he said. "Up there, you're making your move on your third or fourth step, but down here it's your first or second step. Guys are on top of you a lot quicker, so you have to get to your hands a lot faster and get to the edge fast. It speeds everything up."
Bishop went home to Michigan for his offseason training, focusing on his hands, strength and speed, specifically his get-off. The 6'3", 255-pounder's goal is to be a "disruptive" force for the Jets rushing the passer and against the run. Against the Jags he compiled two total tackles and showcased his combination of speed and strength, slipping around the edge and driving running back Corey Grant back for a two-yard loss.
"The name of the game is affecting the quarterback man," he said. "For my position, that's what we do. The first day I came in here, Coach Bowles said, 'Outside linebackers do two things — they set the edge in the run and affect the quarterback.' And that's what I'm going to do."