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Rex Ryan insists Vernon Davis is NFL's best tight end

Rex Ryan has been subtly and not-so-subtly prodding his northern rival, the New England Patriots, for years.

We don't place the following in that category, but when asked to name the game's finest tight end, the New York Jets coach didn't pick a certain hyper-productive, Zubaz-pants-wearing pass-catcher from Foxborough.

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"If you're not looking at Vernon Davis, what -- are you kidding me?" Ryan told the New York Post. "The guy runs a 4.3, the best tight end, the No. 1 tight end in football, in my opinion. You got that (Rob) Gronkowski kid, but this guy is a 4.3 speed guy."

Davis deserves his due. He carried the San Francisco 49ers' passing game last season and remains a matchup terror for defenses. Besides, the Jets host the 49ers this weekend, and Ryan was wise enough to avoid motivating the opponent. At least this one.

New York's secondary will be tested by Davis without their best defensive player, Darrelle Revis, but Gronkowski might not be a Patriot if it weren't for Ryan.

Chris Smith's book, "Smart Football," notes how Ryan's defensive wizardry helped prompt Belichick to rethink his offense. New England's shift to a no-huddle, spread scheme has everything to do with overwhelming Gang Green's secondary -- and its linebackers -- with a pair of dominating tight ends in Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The duo helped Belichick take down the Jets twice last season.

There was really no right answer to this tight end question. Rex and the Jets have to face them all.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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