Sometimes, it just clicks and a player knows it and when it happens, well, it's an amazing feeling. In his fourth season with the Eagles, K'Von Wallace has had that "it" moment. He just knows it. As the Eagles get set for their second preseason game on Thursday against Cleveland (7:30 PM, NBC10), Wallace is a man on a mission and he has all the confidence in the world that he's playing the best football of his career.
"All the hard work pays off. All the grind, all the work you put in in the offseason pays off," said Wallace, who has taken a fair amount of first-team reps at safety in this 2023 Training Camp. "I'm excited for each and every preseason, each and every practice, each and every game, because I know I'm prepared for a long season. I'm ready."
Wallace says his summer has gone "better than expected" in the new defense installed by coordinator Sean Desai. Wallace has seen the game "a lot, lot easier" and has "slowed down tremendously" because, as the safety understands, he's become a better pro.
You hear coaches say it all the time when asked about a young player and how much progress he's making: "He's learning to be a pro." It's a common refrain. And what it means is exactly what you think it means: A young player needs to understand that to have success, real success, at this level, you have to go above and beyond with putting in the work, smoothing out the edges, digging into the finer details.
Wallace has had his moments in three Eagles seasons with seven starts in 45 games played. He had a big game in his most recent start last December in Chicago with eight total tackles in the Eagles' important road victory.
Day 2 of joint practices with the Browns had some great moments! Check them out now.
But what would the future hold with a new coordinator, Desai, overseeing the defense? Where did Wallace fit in?
"It's something that clicks, it's something that I've grown to have an understanding of and ultimately it goes to show the work that I put in," Wallace said. "I knew we had a DC coming in, I knew that we had a whole new defense that we would have to learn and I felt like those extra hours going up to the offices and whatever I needed to do to make sure my knowledge is there and getting wisdom from all the coaches who know more than me and applying it to my game and I feel that's what makes me go out there and play fast."
It's still too early to tell how this is all going to shake out at safety. The Eagles have Reed Blankenship and Terrell Edmunds and rookie Sydney Brown and Wallace and all of those players have taken first-team reps throughout the summer. There's nothing even close to being etched in stone.
Wallace, though, is very much in the mix.
"I'm more of a pro, for sure," said Wallace, a late bloomer who didn't start in high school until his senior year and became a starter at Clemson in his junior year. "I feel like with experience, you only grow. You are only going to do one of two things the longer you are in the league – you are either going to decrease or increase and I feel like I've done nothing but increase."
He's in better shape, physically and mentally. Wallace knows he has a lot to prove to a lot of people, himself first and foremost. With all of that film study, Wallace trusts more of what he sees and he has played faster and been around the football and, yes, he's been a factor this summer.
Now the challenge is to keep rising and growing and take his confidence into the regular season and be a difference-maker for this defense.
"I'm light years ahead of where I used to be, and that's exciting," Wallace said. "I feel like everybody should be ready for what 42 (his jersey number) is going to do for the rest of this season."