Saints notebook: Did Rob Ryan tip off his twin brother on Patriots’ push?

A week after New England narrowly defeated his twin brother’s team, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan’s staff warned officials to watch out for an illegal push from the visiting Patriots’ field-goal block team, NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported Monday, citing anonymous sources.

Officials were indeed on the lookout, and they whistled Patriots defensive lineman Chris Jones for pushing teammate Will Svitek into the pile on a 56-yard field goal attempt that Jets kicker Nick Folk missed in overtime Sunday. The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty ended up leading to another try for Folk from 42 yards, and the kicker nailed it as the Jets won 30-27.

Reports Monday said video showed the Patriots ran the same play with Jones and Svitek in their 30-27 win at home over the Saints on Oct. 13. It didn’t take long for speculation to start about whether Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan tipped off his twin brother. It wasn’t clear Monday whether Rob Ryan, who holds his weekly news conference on Friday, had done any such thing. But it wouldn’t be surprising: He has told reporters that he and Rex speak with each other about upcoming, common opponents.

According to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss, Jones looped behind Svitek and pushed him onto the pile on a 39-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley that put New Orleans ahead 27-23 with 2:24 left. There was no penalty called but, if the officials had whistled one, the Saints could have extended the drive and gotten a chance to run the clock out.

That would’ve prevented the game-winning, 17-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to receiver Kenbrell Thompkins that came with 5 seconds left and handed New Orleans its first loss of the season.

Vilma returns

As expected, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma returned to practice Monday, the NFL said.

Vilma remains on short-term injured reserve, on which he was placed Sept. 3 after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-August. He isn’t eligible to play in a game until Nov. 3, when the Saints visit the Jets.