Pro Football Focus Highlights: Getting Defensive

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The status of quarterback Brennan Armstrong is paramount for Saturday’s ACC Coastal clash at Pittsburgh. But even if Armstrong does play, he won’t be 100%, and the Virginia offense may not have the point potential it had prior to his injury. The Cavalier defense must pick up the slack for Virginia to claim the 2021 Coastal crown, which will happen with victories over Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

The entire defense will have to play well, of course, but Virginia’s proven playmakers must lead the way. Here are the ones I’m watching.

(Note: The PFF grades below are of the Cavalier defenders who have played 100 or more defensive snaps this season. A Pro Football Focus grade of around 65 is average. The higher the better. A grade in the 70s is above average, while a grade in the 80s and above is very good.)

Joey Blount will have to play a major role if the Cavalier defense is to be successful the next two weeks. ~ Photo by Kris Wright/

Joey Blount, Safety

According to Pro Football Focus grades, Blount leads Virginia in overall defense (75) and coverage (81.1) grades but ranks sixth in run defense (60.3) and 15th in tackling (51.7). After earning a 92 overall defensive grade against Georgia Tech, the former All-ACC performer struggled in losses to BYU and Notre Dame. Blount’s outings against the Cougars and Fighting Irish were similar to his performance in a 59-39 loss to UNC in Week 3, in which he received an overall defense grade of 42.5 and a tackling grade of 34.3. Blount was credited with five missed tackles in