Mike Shanahan had no choice but to risk Robert Griffin III's health in the playoffs. That's because he gave himself no option. He did it by helping create the situation where the Redskins had to rely on a hobbled Griffin in the first place.
Shanahan mortgaged the future on winning now, when he traded for Griffin in the 2012 NFL draft. He and general manager Bruce Allen gave up a second round choice and two first round picks to select Griffin. Dealing away more than one prime resource for strengthening the team, means you have to win sooner, rather than later.
Especially if you only have 11 wins in your first two seasons. That was the problem facing Shanahan and he decided that he simply had to get Griffin.
Shanahan willingly made the trade to select Griffin against the backdrop of a league-imposed salary cap penalty. He was prepared to sacrifice the picks and deal with the cap limitations, because he needed Griffin to win now.
This undercurrent of desperation created the potential for the kind of chaos that has engulfed the Redskins' return to contention.