Bears fans are in a bit of a pickle right now. On the one hand, they want head coach Matt Nagy to be fired after this season. On the other, they want quarterback Justin Fields to succeed.
Unfortunately, those things might not be mutually exclusive.
Ian Rapoport wrote a feel-good story about how Bears brass is happy with Fields' progression during his rookie year, especially with the way he led the Bears on a last-minute touchdown drive that gave them a late lead against the Steelers. While that's good, it also gives Nagy a key bargaining chip when it comes time to discuss his job status moving forward.
Beyond winning, Fields' development is the most important objective for the Bears this season. Quite frankly, it might be more important than winning.
Nagy, who was formerly the offensive coordinator with the Chiefs at the beginning of Patrick Mahomes' career, was hired in large part because of his presumed ability to develop a quarterback. While Nagy failed with Mitch Trubisky and hasn't handled the quarterback situation well the last two seasons, if Fields continues to progress in this fashion the Bears might not want to disrupt that by firing their coach.
It's not like Nagy has been awful in four seasons as Bears head coach. He came into this season with two playoff appearances in three seasons and a 28-20 record. The Bears are 3-6 this season and don't appear poised to make a late-season run. But could the Bears give Nagy one more season to prove himself based on Fields' development? That seems possible.
A lot will be decided the last eight games of Chicago's season. WynnBET has them at +5 point underdogs against the Ravens this week and they still have games against the Cardinals and Packers on their schedule -- presumed losses. Their other opponents are currently on the outside of the playoff picture -- AKA winnable games. How they perform in those games will be important to Nagy's job status.
However, the one thing outside of winning that can save Nagy's job is Fields continuing to improve. It's a bit of a double-edged sword for Bears fans who want Nagy out, but it's also critical to the decision making. Bears fans should cheer appropriately.