If Junior Galette remains healthy, the Redskins’ pass rush should improve. (Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

At last, the preseason is over, and the regular season is upon us.

The Washington Redskins in just five days host the Philadelphia Eagles and will try to get their season started off on the right foot after a rather disjointed preseason. Plenty of questions remain about this team, and we’re always looking for answers.

In today’s mailbag, we discuss expectations for the season, the Su’a Cravens situation and more.

Thanks, as always, for taking part in the mailbag, and keep those questions coming! Email me at mike.jones@washpost with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and we’ll do it all over again next Tuesday.

But first, the best of this week’s submissions:

Which of the following do you think the Redskins team will achieve this season in comparison to last season:

1. The defense will apply more pressure on QBs/backfields and surrender fewer first downs and points.
2. The defense will allow fewer rushing yards per game and yards per carry averages.
3. The offensive line will resume last season’s run blocking and pass protection form (not what we observed from the first unit this preseason).
4. The offense will improve its red-zone touchdown efficiency.
5. Kirk Cousins and pass catching corps will play sufficiently in sync, with an equivalent completion rate and yards per attempt.
6. Dustin Hopkins will improve his percentage of field goals and extra points made.
7. The Redskins be more prepared from the start of the regular season (i.e., play well vs. Eagles and at Rams), surrendering fewer penalties and securing two wins in the first two games.

– Tim Foisie, Westport, Conn.

Obviously, for the Redskins’ sake, you’d like all of these things to happen. But we all know that things rarely play out this way. I do think the defense will improve. It’s still just a little too early to know by how much. The pass-rushing department is deeper — if Junior Galette can stay healthy. That rotation of him, Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter is an upgrade of the three-man unit Washington relied upon last year. Linemen Anthony Lanier and Matt Ioannidis have improved, and the defensive line, which features the addition of Jonathan Allen, also has better depth. So, the Redskins should do a better job of generating pressure.

We also should see improvement against the run as well. Zach Brown has better playmaking range, with the ability to get sideline to sideline in a short matter of time. I really like Will Compton and think he is an effective communicator, and I know he worked hard in the offseason, so I was interested in seeing that growth. But Mason Foster is probably a physical upgrade because he’s bigger and stronger and tougher to stop as he defends the run. But it still doesn’t mean this unit is dramatically better. There are still things to clean up.

Yes, the offensive line should regroup and regain its effective form both in the passing and rushing departments. But concerns remain about Cousins and his collection of receivers. You would think the improved size would lead to better production in the red zone. But it’s evident that this stuff doesn’t just happen on its own, and that’s why guys are willing to put in extra work.

2017 Redskins Season Preview

Washington, and its top players, enter the season with plenty to prove
• In a pivotal season, failure to improve could shake the franchise’s foundation
• The ‘prove it’ crew: Cousins, Pryor and Brown play on one-year contracts
• Breeland and Compton tune out their critics
• Brewer: Continuity is a mirage with these Redskins
• Steinberg: Why Greg Manusky may be lurking in an Ashburn Porta Potty
• PFF: Starting lineup scouting report
• Schedule analysis: Breaking down every game for 2017

After seeing three straight slow starts out of the offense, Jay Gruden has stressed the importance of coming out of the gates with more fire. Players are trying to focus on that and nailing down all of the tiny details that can combine to produce difference-making outcomes. We’ll soon see.

If Su’a Cravens does decide to return (very unlikely, I know), how hard do you think it will be for him to repair the bridges he might have burned, with coaches/players? I know some weren’t too happy at his choice. 

— Callum Wishart

It’s going to take a lot of work. Everyone wants to see Cravens tend to whatever issues have led him to lose his love for the game. Resolving whatever personal or mental or emotional issues are plaguing him rank first on the priority list. If that happens, they’d love to have his athleticism and playmaking ability on their team. But there are indeed players who wonder whether they can trust him. One discussion that I had relayed to me involved a player saying, “Can I really trust that this guy is going to have me in cover-two when I don’t even know if he’s going to show up to work on a given day?” Coaches also need evidence of maturity and dependability before they feel comfortable starting him or even putting him on the field in a key situation as a backup. No one wants Cravens going out there half-hearted. That’s how you wind up getting hurt, or that’s how you miss key assignments and ultimately lose football games. If Cravens comes back, he’ll have to demonstrate a renewed commitment and understanding of the importance of his role on this team, and a willingness to do the dirty work, which hasn’t always been the case.

I know the hottest question this week has to be, “What we will do at safety now?” Do we bring back Blackmon? If so, what does that say about our grade at that position if we welcome back a player we cut because what we wanted didn’t work out?

— T.J. Settles

So far, I haven’t gathered that a Will Blackmon return is in the works. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t change. Team officials could wait and see how Week 1 goes, and then make a move. Veteran contracts aren’t guaranteed if they are signed after Week 1, so in a way, it benefits the Redskins to wait. There are times when you have to part with players you know can still play. That’s what you want, because it means you had good depth. If they brought Blackmon back because Cravens changed their plans, that’s not a negative mark on the talent evaluators. They’re always working on contingency plans.

Why would Sudfeld want to play for the Eagles’ taxi squad instead of the Skins’ taxi squad?  Their QB situation is set for a long time with Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, and the Skins’ isn’t. Cousins will likely walk, and Colt is near the end of his deal.  Seems like a better opportunity here, though I was never really sold on him.

– Mike Schubert, NYC

It’s possible that the Eagles offered Sudfeld more money to sign with their practice squad. It benefits them because they can rent a guy who knows the Redskins’ offense and can run the scout team well. That’s why it was somewhat of a risky move for the Redskins to cut him. But ultimately, they did the right thing if they didn’t believe he could help their 53-man roster. If Sudfeld hadn’t displayed dramatic improvement from Year 1 to Year 2 (and I think we can agree that it didn’t seem he had), then you can’t eat up a roster spot when you needed an extra cornerback, safety or linebacker.

Scot McCloughan was Sudfeld’s biggest proponent. Yes, the coaching staff liked him and appreciated his hard work and desire to succeed, but they probably had him similarly graded to other available quarterbacks, and so they rolled the dice and let him go.

Just how much production (yards, catches, TDs) do Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have to make up in the absence of former vet WRs Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson? Also, is it reasonable to assume that the passing offense can be just as effective in 2017 as it was in 2016 with Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Jamison Crowder as the focal points?

— Emmett Mosley

Garcon and Jackson combined for 2,046 yards, seven touchdowns and 87 first downs on 137 receptions last season. That’s quite a lot. Yes, Pryor had a 1,000-yard season in his first year as a wide receiver with Cleveland. But this is a different system, so you can’t just automatically expect the same. Yes, you hope for the same or more. But it doesn’t just happen — as we’ve seen this preseason. You can’t really count on Doctson for anything until he shows he can stay on the field.

As a result, Crowder, Reed and Davis will indeed have to shoulder the load. Last year, those three combined for 2,116 receiving yards, 15 touchdowns, 97 first downs and 177 receptions. They could produce similar numbers this year. But who makes up for the other 2,000-missing receiving yards?

You hope Crowder can do more than he did last year. But he also doesn’t have Garcon and Jackson drawing the attention of the defenses. So, as a marked man, it could prove a little more challenging this year. Reed’s production, as always, depends on health. And Davis doesn’t look like his game has dropped off.

Look for more involvement from running back Chris Thompson in the passing game. He has the ability to create a lot of mismatches. Thompson recorded 49 catches for 349 yards and two touchdowns last year along with 18 first downs. That production will have to increase.

Hopefully, for the sake of everyone involved, Doctson proves durable, because he has the skill set to lead this team in receiving. Pryor does as well. But there will be growing pains for both.