LANDOVER, Maryland — No sense in pretending the Washington Redskins are close to being good, not after a 27-point loss to their biggest rival to end a 4-12 season.
The Redskins took a 44-17 drubbing Sunday from the Dallas Cowboys, looking every bit the mess they've come to symbolize for much of the past decade.
"We need to change a lot," first-year coach Jay Gruden said. "I honestly think if you don't change something, you're probably going to get the same results. There's going to be some change going on, and it's something we have to look at."
Gruden wasn't ready to go into specifics, but much will be focused on the quarterback position. The coach changed starting QBs five times this season and was often blunt in his assessment of Robert Griffin III, who missed six weeks with an ankle injury, was later benched and then regained his job after Colt McCoy's season-ending neck injury.
With neither Gruden nor Griffin expected to go anywhere, the franchise's hopes will likely hinge on whether their partnership can work.
Gruden's quick review of Griffin on Sunday: "He's out there trying his best. That starts right there. We have to get his best effort from him."
Griffin committed three turnovers Sunday: two red zone interceptions and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. He completed 27 of 41 passes for a career-high 336 yards with one touchdown, ending the season with four touchdowns, six interceptions and an 86.9 passer rating.
"It's been a really long year," Griffin said. "It's been a tough year, a lot of adversity and a lot of things you can't control. I know who I am. I know what I have to get better at, and that's what I'll focus on this offseason."
On his relationship with Gruden, Griffin said: "I want to be here. I want to be here to help this team win, to help turn this thing around and change the culture. That's my only focus. If coach Jay and the organization wants me to be around, I'll be ready to go."
The Redskins didn't put up much resistance against the Cowboys (12-4), who had already clinched the NFC East and were playing with little or nothing on the line as far as playoff seeding.
"They're 12-4. We're 4-12. Right now, we're far away," Gruden said. "They're going to the playoffs. We're not. We're not very close to them right now."
The Redskins lost seven of eight to finish last in the division for the sixth time in seven seasons. This season ended with 100 or so protesters outside the stadium condemning the team's nickname, the inside of the stadium well-populated by Cowboys fans as the game took on a preseason feel in the second half, and owner Dan Snyder hardly the picture of joy as he took it all in seated next to Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.
"The Washington Redskins won't play another meaningful game until September of 2015," said veteran safety Ryan Clark, who had a rough game Sunday and is a top candidate to be among the changes referenced by Gruden.
"Those things go away. Football's like a woman. They only remember the bad things. The bad things will linger. The good things, they don't talk about next year."
Notes: The Redskins lost three linemen: T Trent Williams (high ankle sprain), T Tom Compton (knee sprain) and G Chris Chester (sprained toe), forcing TE Logan Paulsen to line up at tackle late in the game. ... The Redskins' three quarterbacks combined to complete 364 passes this season, a franchise record.
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