Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Griffin's return to full health is key.
Starter: Robert Griffin III
Depth: Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman, Pat White
If there were no lingering questions regarding Robert Griffin III's health status, the Redskins would easily merit an A at quarterback. Griffin's ability to offer the same dual-threat he unleashed on the league as a rookie is critical to the Redskins' season.
With his mobility intact, the pistol and read-option looks will continue to be the scourge of defenses. When Griffin is a threat to run for huge chunks of yardage, opponents are forced to play a passive brand of defense.
That creates even more room for an already prolific rushing attack. It also helps manufacture a plethora of big plays off play-action passing.
Griffin has been cleared to start the season by Dr. James Andrews. But the surgeon retains some concerns about how the youngster's knees will hold up under more running.
Andrews may want Griffin to play with less risk, but the Redskins have to be wary about curbing what makes him such a dangerous playmaker to begin with.
If defenses know Griffin will stay in the pocket more often, the pre-snap guessing games end, and the offense loses its big advantage.
Of course, having a backup the quality of Kirk Cousins helps ease any concerns about Griffin's durability. Last year's fourth-round pick has already proved he can win in the NFL and execute elements of the Shanahan offense.
What is troubling is that the former Michigan State star has had his own injury problems this offseason. He sustained a foot injury that kept him out of the latter part of preseason.
Thankfully, there was no significant damage, because the Redskins need Cousins to be a dependable insurance policy.
As last resorts go, the Redskins could do worse than Rex Grossman. The interception-happy veteran has his issues, but he possesses a detailed knowledge of the offense.
Shanahan has toyed with the idea of letting the more athletic Pat White usurp Grossman this offseason. But while White can be useful in read-option looks, he is too streaky as a passer to supplant Grossman. Shanahan's choice comes down to how much he values the read-option.
With Griffin healthy and on form, the Redskins can easily register double-digit victories. But if he struggles or breaks down again, the team will struggle to match 2012's heights.