On Monday, Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan stated his main objectives for the remainder of the 2013 season: win three more games and get quarterback Robert Griffin III to the offseason program unscathed.
Both goals are easier said than done, as the Redskins are losers of five straight and Griffin III has weathered an onslaught of 24 sacks over that span.
In order to ensure that the latter goal occurs, Shanahan suggested that might mean that the team explores other options, including playing Kirk Cousinsfor the duration of the season.
"Well the reason why I kind of left it up in the air...you always are taking a look at what is in the best interest of your organization," Shanahan explained. "The reason why I was hesitant [to name a starter vs. Atlanta]...you want to make sure going into the offseason that [Griffin III]'s healthy and that he goes through a full offseason program.
"That's just something in the back of my mind I'm thinking about right now, and I'll let you know in the next couple of days exactly what I think."
By Wednesday afternoon, Shanahan said he should be able to fully assess the situation, at which time he will address the outcome with his quarterbacks.
"Do you take the risk of having a guy possibly miss the offseason — your franchise quarterback? Or do you play him and all of a sudden the second game or the first game you lose him for the offseason, was it worth the risk?" he asked, rhetorically.
That's not to say that Robert Griffin III is anything short of healthy, as Shanahan shot down assertions to the contrary on Monday.
"No, I think he's 100 percent. I think he's feeling very good where he's at right now," Shanahan said of RGIII. "That wasn't really part of the decision."
In addition to questions about the quarterback, Shanahan weathered media speculation directed at all facets of the Redskins organization.
Although he admitted he has rarely coached a 3-10 team in his illustrious career, he said winning was the only way to silence the critics.
"The best thing for us to do is win versus Atlanta," he said simply. "I'm pretty busy with football, but I've got to answer these questions.
"I'm hoping, together, we get them focused on the job ahead in Atlanta, we can leave that behind us and play one of our better football games and I believe our football team will respond."
Shanahan reiterated that his decision will boil down to what is in the best interests of the Washington Redskins and his franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III going into 2014.
"It doesn't mean that he's not going to [start], but if he did get injured I think I might be very disappointed going into the offseason that he's not there for whole offseason," he said of RG3. "It's very important for him to be there.
"We're going to give it our best shot to win the next three games and get on a positive roll for next year."