49ers vs. Raiders: 4 can’t-miss storylines for preseason finale

Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders attempts a pass against the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders attempts a pass against the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers wrap up their 2021 preseason campaign at home against the Raiders, and you won’t want to pass up these critical storylines during the game.

It’s been a while since the San Francisco 49ers have had a preseason generating so much interest.

But that’s generally what happens when a team, particularly one with playoff aspirations, selects a high-profile quarterback in Round 1 of the NFL Draft and then features that quarterback prominently in exhibition games.

With a meaningless 1-1 record in the 2021 preseason, along with both positive and negative takeaways from head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad, the Niners wrap up their three-game exhibition schedule with a home bout against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday in what will likely turn into a regular-season dress rehearsal for both teams. Unlike the first two preseason bouts where only a handful of San Francisco’s starters saw the field, and only a modest drive or two at that, Shanahan will likely feature the bulk of his first-team players. And probably close to a full half, too.

Seeing how the starters perform on Sunday is just one major point of emphasis, of course, but there are other must-watch focal points and storylines as well.

Such as these four.

No. 4: Health, availability of 49ers’ injury-prone players

Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams has sat out the preseason, which isn’t much of a concern in itself, although he’s been dealing with a minor knee injury.

That might be concerning, but the 49ers have other players who might be entering the regular season with some injury worries.

Starting cornerback Jason Verrett sat out two consecutive practices in the week leading up to the game with an undisclosed injury. And while the Niners have watched some promising play from rookie corner Deommodore Lenoir over the first two preseason games, coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ defense is clearly better with Verrett present:

Additionally, starting safety Jaquiski Tartt was just removed from the physically unable-to-perform list after reaggravating the turf-toe injury suffered last year.

It’s still possible both don’t play. But the key will be monitoring their injuries and seeing, especially if they do play, if they’re both at least close to 100 percent.

Otherwise, San Francisco’s secondary depth could be tested early and often once Week 1 rolls around.