Florham Park, N.J. - Heading into week two of the preseason, a lot of players are looking to emerge as impacts to their team. One player that hopes to continue playing at a high level is Jets linebacker Freddie Bishop III.
Bishop has had a different path to the NFL than most. He signed with Detroit in 2013 after going undrafted out of Western Michigan. In college, he totaled 172 tackles, 31.5 for loss, and 15 sacks. The Lions released Bishop just a month after signing him. A month after being released, Bishop signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. In three seasons and 30 games played up north, Bishop recorded 62 tackles and 14 sacks, 11 being in his final year there. He also won a Grey Cup in 2014, which is equivalent to the Super Bowl.
However, the way the CFL does it is a little bit different than how the NFL plays. "Not having to be a yard off the ball anymore is a true difference," said Bishop. In Canadian football, the distance between the line of scrimmage and defensive team is one yard while in the NFL it is the length of a football. One difference Bishop has noticed is "having to get to my hands a lot quicker and make my moves a lot quicker than normally."
Bishop is listed as linebacker on the roster, but often plays defensive end as well. "Being at the end and being at outside linebacker, most of the time you're in the same position so it's no a big thing switching from one to the other." The fact he's able to play both positions efficiently helps his case on making the roster. He can give guys such as David Harris and Erin Henderson a break, while also giving Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson a breather. Bishop noted that the biggest difference from Canada to here is that he's dropping back into coverage more.
When fans think of transitions from the CFL to the NFL, one name comes to mind: Cameron Wake. After he was cut by the Giants, he signed with the BC Lions of the CFL. In two years up north, Wake had 39 sacks to go along with being named Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for two seasons. He signed with the Dolphins in 2009 and has had tremendous success in the NFL since. "We're two different types of players playing in two different systems, but it's definitely motivation," Bishop said. "Anytime you hear a player coming from the CFL to the NFL, you think of Cam Wake because he's the best to have done it."
Bishop is the type of player that's a disruptor. He causes havoc at the line and makes the offensive linemans job a little bit harder than it should be. On Thursday against Jacksonville, Bishop had two tackles, one being for a loss. It doesn't say it on the stat sheet, but him being able to get off the line of scrimmage quickly causes a panic and opens up opportunities for his teammates. "We have some talented guys that can get off the ball and create disruption."
Bishop has shown improvement throughout camp and has made some plays. Bishop posted up big numbers in Canada and hopes to do one thing: "take what I did last year and try to do the same thing here."