PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers may be in more trouble than even their Cheech & Chong running mates of Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount.
They have problems on the field on the other side of the ball too, on defense. The Steelers have been counting on a mix of rookies, young players and a few aging veterans to springboard their defense into a reformation period. The Philadelphia Eagles made them look as if much more work -- and perhaps talent -- needs to take hold.
Philadelphia scored all 31 of its points Thursday night against the first-team defense. Even the second-team Eagles' offense led by quarterback Mark Sanchez marched for two touchdowns in the third quarter against the top Steelers' defense.
"I think everybody's pissed off," defensive end Cam Heyward said. "If you're not pissed off, you shouldn't be on this team. There is a big level of disappointment."
Might Thursday's play against the Eagles be an indication of what is to come for the once-proud Steelers' defense this season?
"It better not be or we have a long season ahead of us," Heyward said.
As for halfbacks Bell and Blount and the charges levied against them in suburban Pittsburgh for marijuana possession, the Steelers are not expected to take any drastic action. They will allow the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell to determine any disciplinary measures, which often do not occur until the following season. In typical cases such as theirs, Goodell has issued a one-game suspension.
Coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers' hierarchy were upset particularly with the absurdity and stupidity of it: two players caught with marijuana use on their way to catch the team's chartered flight to Philadelphia early in the afternoon.
"They'll be dealt with appropriately," said Tomlin, who played them both in Philadelphia because he said he did not view it as punishment to send them home for a preseason game.
The Steelers cannot afford to lose both, especially Bell, who is expected to be their horse and a big part of their no-huddle offense. They have no other halfbacks with any NFL carries to their credit.
"I'm sorry to be a distraction to the team," is all Bell said.