The Mark Ingle Academy of Ignorant Optimism is having a summer blowout sale — the Dallas Mavericks will sign Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, the Texas Rangers will acquire Cliff Lee without giving up Jurickson Profar, the Dallas Stars will be relevant, and the Dallas Cowboys will be in the postseason.Maybe it is this unseasonably wonderful weather we here in the greatness of FW/d are enjoying, or my increase in alcohol consumption, but there is no better time for a little shot of positive thinking in regard to the local professional football team.No one is hurt, not even Sean Lee.Dez Byrant is a grown-up.DeMarco Murray is going to play 16 games.Jerry hasn’t botched anything in days, and now has proof he drafted to the board (BTW — scouting director, Tom Ciskowski, you’ve been notified).The quarterback is now the assistant owner.The defensive coordinator has fixed everything.Jason Garrett may not be calling plays.It’s all better now.All perfectly unrealistic scenarios aside, there is a path for the Dallas Cowboys to make the playoffs.Follow the bouncing ball:1. Tony Romo actually pulls a Peyton Manning.It’s not the quarterback’s fault his boss tried to drown him with money this off-season with the second-largest signing bonus in NFL history.The fear is that Romo at 33 is who he is: Quite good, and not quite good enough.Really good means that Romo is putting the team in position, which means if just a few passes go differently the outcomes change.No team asks more of their QB than Romo, and perhaps no one does more than Romo.A little bit of help and maybe he won’t have to feel like he needs to be Superman/Batman/Aqua Man/Iron Man on every play.For years the knock on Manning was that he “couldn’t get it done” against Florida, or the New England Patriots. Then he did.Should he have won one more Super Bowl? Yes, but he has one and he is a football deity.Romo still has the time, and talent, to get this done.2. Dez Bryant is all that.The latter half of the ’12 season suggests Dez had figured the game out, and that defenders can’t deal with him.Dez may never have more financial incentive to be any better than he does right now.His off-season has been quiet, for a variety of reasons.Michael Jordan has signed him to his personal label, and wants him to be a good boy; Dez has many reasons to do nothing rather than go mano-a-mano with Lil Wayne or shop at NorthPark.Plus, Dez can be a free agent after next season. The Cowboys historically prefer to lock guys in with one year remaining on their deal, meaning Dez has every reason to behave and produce.3. The NFC East is weak.Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III now has suffered multiple devastating knee injuries, meaning at some point his employer will demand he not run around.Can he be a conventional pocket passer? Hard to bet against RGIII, but he’s never done it.The Philadelphia Eagles will be in transition as Chip Kelly learns a new league and a new team where these players are paid over the table. Their roster is in flux.The wild card is the New York Giants.They have been one win better than the Cowboys in each of the past two regular seasons (and a Super Bowl, if that matters).They flirt with mediocrity as much as the Cowboys but just seem to make a few more plays to win two more games.4. The defense will be better.The roster is not as 3-4 ready as promised, but it doesn’t need to be. It simply needs to produce just a few more plays and the difference could result in a playoff appearance.There are enough players on this roster to make significant plays.5. Law of Averages.The Cowboys have not sniffed the Super Bowl in forever, but they have been able to smell the playoffs.Eventually, they will turn 8-8 into 9-7 or a 10-6 and slip into the playoffs. We are not talking about jumping from 5-11 to 11-5; it’s one or two more wins. They can’t be 8-8 again ... can they?There is simply no better time to believe than right now that the Cowboys will be back in the postseason.What they do when they get there?We may need a drink for that.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @macengelprof