If the Bears do wind up where their season appears headed, the Matt Nagy firing reports of this past week will only be considered premature rather than false.
Whatever the Bears do next needs to be aimed at Justin Fields. The next coach needs to be someone with a history of success with inexperienced quarterbacks, one who can help bring along this gift which fell into GM Ryan Pace's lap.
Numerous names will pop up on potential lists across the internet and already have in some cases.
Among those who should be immediately disqualified are any of those with past ties to the New Orleans Saints based solely on Ryan Pace's ties to that franchise.
Those days were a very long time ago, and anyone who observes the NFL knows the success of the Saints can be traced entirely back to two people. One of those is now in a broadcast booth and the other is Sean Payton.
So unless they've found a way to bring Payton to Chicago, they should take a pass here. This includes Carolina offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who has proven nothing yet as the OC for a sub-.500 team.
Similarly scratch Kellen Moore of the Dallas Cowboys, a popular name now.
Dallas is ranked first in the NFL on offense and has more weapons than several entire divisions do. They should be No. 1.
Besides, the Cowboys head coach is an offensive mind who knows virtually nothing about defense and so Moore is more a caretaker than coordinator.
Also there for the scratching should be Eric Bieniemy and Mike Kafka. One Andy Reid disciple was quite enough to show that offense only works with Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill. Reid needed to be a head coach a quarter of a century before winning a Super Bowl and required those two players to do so.
However, there are two Reid disciples who should be potential hires.
After seeing Nagy fail when he had no experience as head coach, and John Fox a proven experienced winner who no longer really cared, the Bears could use a proven winner with experience who does care.
For that reason, one prime candidate who should be contacted is Doug Pederson. The man should still be coaching in Philadelphia after the spectacular job he did.
He's also a good friend of Nagy's and, as such, would seem highly unlikely to ever come calling for this job.
The other Chiefs coach worth hiring is one the Bears never should have let out of town in 2012. Dave Toub needs to be a head coach somewhere but being a special teams coordinator means always battling the prejudice of personnel bosses and owners against such coaches.
Buffalo's Brian Daboll surely will attract attention as a coach who brought along a young quarterback, although he did struggle mightily with the Bills and elsewhere before talent levels at receiver picked up.
The name of Byron Leftwich keeps rising but Bruce Arians' offensive success comes largely from his own doing. It's always been that way. He was succeeding before Leftwich and Leftwich wasn't succeeding in Arizona without Arians, a firing victim with the league's worst offense in the Steve Wilks regime.
There is one name out there who comes from a proven winner, who is performing miracles with a young quarterback and actually has head coaching experience.
He would be the ideal candidate.
Josh McDaniels is about as big of a no-brainer as there is in a potential Bears coaching hunt.
He has enough rings credited to someone else and needs to be out on his own now winning one himself. Bill Belichick didn't win those six Super Bowl rings with only his defense. Tom Brady and McDaniels had big hands in it.
There is always the old Belichick jinx they say plagues his assistants when they become head coaches, and they point at Matt Patricia above all others.
McDaniels didn't excel on his first head coaching venture in Denver, but first he had the Jay Cutler fiasco. As it turned out, McDaniels had the right idea about Cutler. But saddling McDaniels with Tim Tebo and Kyle Orton as his quarterbacks and then firing him sounds like a totally rigged game. McDaniels being jettisoned by that organization was more of an escape than a firing.
The Belichick connection did produce Mike Vrabel and even Bill O'Brien was a successful head coach with only one losing record for a full season until he decided he should start trading away good talent. He proved then he was a coach, not a GM.
One problem the Bears could have is meeting McDaniels' asking price because he could always decide to stay put and keep working with Mac Jones until Belichick retires, and then simply inherit the team himself.
Another problem is McDaniels actually was interviewed by the Bears and came in behind Nagy when they had the last coaching search. Would he hold this against them?
The McCaskeys need to make it worth his while and whether they will fork it out is always an uncertainty.
Chicago has been through a lot, and if there is no late-season miracle finish for the current Bears then next season's team should be headed up by the surest possible candidate.
As long as he didn't insist on bringing along Matt Patricia, Josh McDaniels is that person.