Five potential coaches on the hot seat

Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag on Wednesdays during the NFL season. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.

Q: Adam, with Jerry Jones announcing that he will never step down as GM of the Dallas Cowboys, is there any hope that the Cowboys can be real contenders instead of a huge disappointment year after year? And if Jason Garrett is fired at season's end, who are some potential replacements other than Sean Payton?

-- Jon (New York)

A: First part is easier to answer than the second, Jon. Jones, for better or worse, isn't going anywhere. He makes the Cowboys very interesting even if he hasn't made them particularly competitive in recent seasons. It's hard to imagine he ever will give up control or step aside, not when he talks about "watching film" the way he has recently. If Garrett goes, the Cowboys would have a chance to lure Payton to Dallas. But if they don't get Payton, the good side of Jones would surface again: He would not be satisfied until he had the best coach possible, whoever that is. He would stop at nothing to bring a big name with big credentials to Dallas.

Q: Who are the five coaches on the hottest seat right now? Doesn't Romeo Crennel have to lead that list?

-- Nick (Michigan)

A: This changes week to week, Nick. For starters, any coach who loses on a Sunday is facing criticism and questions the whole next week. And the league changes and shifts quickly, so it's hard to pinpoint five coaches. But five coaches to watch, based on the comments of their owners and their teams' performances, would be Philadelphia's Andy Reid, Garrett, Carolina's Ron Rivera, San Diego's Norv Turner and Kansas City's Crennel. But again, this list changes week to week, Nick, so please don't read too much into it. Just know that after this season, we'll see about six to eight teams change head coaches. That's usually the way it happens and this offseason probably won't be much different.

Q: The Detroit Lions seem like a potential contender for a playoff spot if Mikel Leshoure can lead the rushing attack. Do you think they have a shot at the postseason?

-- Brian (California)

A: Don't discount Joique Bell, either, Brian. He rushed 13 times for 73 yards and a touchdown Sunday versus Jacksonville and looked pretty good doing it. Detroit is going to need Bell and Leshoure to balance out an already strong and potent passing game. And yes, Detroit can make a playoff run, but it is not going to be easy. After the four division winners make the playoffs in the NFC, the other North team that doesn't win the division, Chicago or Green Bay, is going to make the postseason. That leaves everyone else in the NFC, teams such as Seattle, Detroit, New Orleans and Tampa Bay, vying for one playoff spot. Detroit is going to have a lot of competition for that one spot. It can happen, but it won't be easy.

Q: Andy Reid believes that the Eagles can turn their season around. To me, that football team seems like it has quit. Do you think they can make a run?

-- Fred (Nebraska)

A: The time to start that run was Monday night, Fred, so Philadelphia made its job that much more difficult and daunting. Philadelphia's schedule down the stretch -- four games at home, four on the road -- is not exactly easy. There are games at Washington, Dallas, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants, while the Eagles host Dallas, Carolina, Cincinnati and Washington. Can they do it? Sure. But their road might be even more challenging than Detroit's, and see the aforementioned answer as to how difficult it will be to squeak into the NFC playoffs now. Can it happen? Sure. But only if the Eagles start playing consistently better football.

Q: There has been little discussion over Percy Harvin's contract this season. Is there any news on it? Will the Vikings try to get a deal done this offseason with him?

-- Will (Texas)

A: It has to be a priority, Will. Harvin has been so good and so strong that until the Vikings' recent swoon, he was an MVP candidate. There's no way Minnesota will let him leave now. Even if the Vikings can't get a long-term deal done with him -- and I bet they can and will -- they always have their franchise tag available. Harvin knows he's not going anywhere.