FOXBOROUGH — As Tom Brady was rattling off Darrelle Revis’s qualities Wednesday — “incredible instincts . . . consistent . . . dependable’’ — there was a familiar feel in the room. A familiar tone in the air.
It sounded a lot like the way players and coaches sound when asked to describe Brady.
The descriptions shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, as the Patriots quarterback and Jets cornerback have long been considered among the best — if not the best — at their positions. So it’s only natural they’d share many traits. Mirror images, if you will.
When Bill Belichick was asked about coaching Revis last season during his Wednesday chat with the New York media, it was almost as if he was describing his own quarterback.
“Really good player, very smart, instinctive,’’ said Belichick. “When you don’t coach a guy, you don’t just have that day-to-day relationship with him. You just see him the times you compete against him. He was a pleasure to coach and really has a great understanding, instinctiveness to the game, studies his opponents well, always well-prepared, very professional. Obviously, he’s a great player.’’
Brady and Revis are performing at a particularly high level this season as they lead their teams into a Sunday showdown with first place in the AFC East on the line.
Brady spearheads the NFL’s top-scoring offense — humming along at a blistering 36.6 points per game. New England is second in passing yards (325.2) and total yards (422.4) per game.
Revis, meanwhile, is one of the stalwarts of the league’s top defense. Gang Green leads the league in fewest points (15) and total yards (269.2) allowed per game. They are second against the pass (186.6) and the rush (82.6).
Individually, the numbers are just as — if not more — impressive. Brady is completing 70.6 percent of his passes for 1,699 yards, 14 touchdowns, and just 1 interception (a tipped ball). Revis has three interceptions and three passes defensed as he continues to take away 50 percent of the field from opposing quarterbacks.
Brady was effusive in his praise of Revis, a former teammate and longtime nemesis, when asked to reminisce about their time together last season.
“There was a lot of competition in practice last year with him, and he makes it tough,’’ said Brady. “His instincts are incredible out there. He’s one of those guys who sees everything on the field. He sees the formations and routes and splits and anything presnap that can help him get an idea of whether the ball is coming his way or if it’s going the other [way] or if it’s a run or pass or deep throw or short throw.’’
Brady is one of those guys, too. One of those guys who instinctively knows what defenses are planning and adjusts accordingly. Sunday, a lot of those adjustments will be to avoid visiting Revis Island.
“He’s a very dependable, consistent player,’’ said Brady. “He’s been an incredible playmaker since he’s been in the league. He covers the top guys every week. I got a firsthand look at that last year every day in practice, and it was great to have him play a part here, but he moved on, so now he’s our competition again.’’
Patriots receiver Danny Amendola also had a firsthand look at Revis last season. He recalled the practice battles between Brady and Revis by calling both players “ultimate competitors.’’
Like Brady and Belichick, Amendola said instincts are what separates Revis from most.
“Revis is one of the most instinctual players on the field at his position,” said Amendola. “That’s why he’s been playing at a high level his whole career. That’s why he’s Revis.’’
Amendola said neither side has an advantage in the matchup. Because there’s so much familiarity, it all comes out in the wash.
“He’s gone against us just as much as we’ve gone against him,’’ Amendola said.
Asked about his personal practice battles with Revis, Amendola said, “You win some, you lose some. He’s a good player. You’ve got to be on your A-game.’’
Deep down, Brady might be disappointed to no longer have Revis on his side, but he wasn’t letting on Wednesday.
“That’s kind of NFL football and free agency and stuff like that,’’ Brady said. “A lot of players have switched teams over the years. We’ve had a lot of guys come to our team from that team, and vice versa. Like I said, I’ve got a lot of respect for that team and the way they play football and how well they’re coached and how well they’re playing this year.’’
But the fact that Revis has been on both sides of the rivalry — more than once — does add a little spice to a matchup where he’s bound to receive some pregame cheers (a Super Bowl title will do that) but nothing but jeers once the ball is kicked.
“It’s a great rivalry,’’ said Brady. “We’ve had a lot of great games against them, some real meaningful games.’’
The latest chapter kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m.