Brett Martel / Associated Press
METAIRIE, La. Rob Ryan is portraying himself as the more serious brother this week.
Albeit with a self-serving jab mixed in.
The Saints' defensive coordinator greeted reporters Friday by holding up the plain white back side of a play chart.
The message was that he wasn't going to try to one-up his brother — Jets head coach Rex Ryan — in his game-week media session because he was more focused on trying to help the Saints win in New York on Sunday.
Rob Ryan said his brother took a more colorful approach to addressing the sibling rivalry earlier this week because the Jets are 4-4 and Rex is "trying to deflect a little heat."
On Wednesday, Rex Ryan held up what was purportedly an injury report he intended to read with a picture of each brother on the back side. One photo was of Rob's agonizing pout after New England beat the Saints three weeks ago on a touchdown with 5 seconds left. Under it were the words: "Sorry About That Jets." The other photo was of a smiling Rex with the words: "I Wish I Could Look As Good As My Twin."
"I will be the bigger man and walk away," Rob Ryan said. "We have no pictures. We are just trying to do our job and trying to win a game."
The Ryan twins, sons of former NFL coach and defensive guru Buddy Ryan, are known for their big personalities and sense of humor, often joking publicly at one another's expense. But on Friday — the one day each week in which Saints coach Sean Payton allows his coordinators to speak with reporters — Rob Ryan uncharacteristically offered only measured comments about the sibling rivalry.
"Now, honestly when the ball snaps, he's nameless faceless opponent until you go shake his hand across the field," Rob Ryan said. "That's just really the facts of it. We usually have good times with it. Right now it is too important — our season is too important to have any little distraction."
The Ryans have gone against each other four times since both were either coordinators, or in Rex's case, a head coach. Since Rex has been with the Jets, he has beaten Rob as an opposing coordinator in 2010, when Rob was with Cleveland and 2011, when Rob was with Dallas.
Rob said he believes this year is his best chance yet to emerge on the winning side. The Saints are 6-1. Ryan's defense went into this week ranked 12th and the Saints' offense, led by record-setting quarterback Drew Brees, is again one of the most prolific units in the NFL.
"We have a great team here." Ryan said. "You go to an organization like this it is like winning the lottery. ... If our defense can be any tiny part of our success, then I'll be happy about it."