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Patriots notebook

Orlovsky will get the start

0-11 Colts make a switch at QB

Former UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky (above) will take over for Curtis Painter as the Colts desperately try to get a win. Former UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky (above) will take over for Curtis Painter as the Colts desperately try to get a win. (File/Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / November 30, 2011
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Not long after Bill Belichick described Curtis Painter as an effective quarterback yesterday, Colts coach Jim Caldwell said he will be starting a different quarterback in Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

The Patriots will have to prepare for Dan Orlovsky, as Caldwell announced yesterday he was benching Painter, who has started eight games this season while Peyton Manning has been out with a neck injury.

After 11 games, the Colts are the only team in the NFL without a victory. Without Manning, they are scrambling for anything to stop their winless skid.

Painter has completed 54.3 percent of his passes (132 of 243) for 1,541 yards. He has six touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Playing without their No. 1 quarterback has proven to be an incredible challenge for the Colts, but it is a reality any team can face at any moment, Belichick said.

“We see that every week,’’ said the coach. “It changes. We have players that I wish were playing for us. Other teams have players that I’m sure their teams wish were playing for them. That’s football. You play with what you’ve got.’’

Orlovsky, 28, is in his seventh NFL season. He last started as a member of the Detroit Lions during their 0-16 season in 2008. Orlovsky, who played at the University of Connecticut, started seven games that season, throwing eight touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

Even though Belichick wasn’t asked about Orlovsky directly, he mentioned him as another player the Patriots have to prepare for - the third week in a row they will play against a backup quarterback.

“He’s a strong kid, a real pocket-type quarterback that can read defenses and get the ball downfield or follow out the read progressions and take their second or third receivers,’’ said Belichick. “I think in the mold of what you’ve seen from the Colts in the past.’’

Adams released

The Patriots released cornerback Phillip Adams yesterday. Adams, who is in his second season, picked up valuable snaps as the Patriots ran into injury trouble in the secondary. He played in six games this season and has been on and off the roster. He does not have practice squad eligibility.

Third options

The third receiver in the Patriots offense after Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski could be any player any given week, and that is the way offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien likes it.

“It’s a week-to-week deal, and this week it could be somebody different,’’ O’Brien said. “It could be Taylor [Price], it could be [Chad Ochocinco], it could be Tiquan [Underwood], it could be somebody you’ve never heard of.

“That’s kind of the beauty of what we do. At some point in time, hopefully every one of those guys will contribute to what we’re trying to get done.’’

For the season, Deion Branch has 45 receptions and tight end Aaron Hernandez has 47. Price didn’t play last week, despite being active and Ochocinco being out with a hamstring injury.

O’Brien said the third receiver is a multipurpose role that has been filled by several players over the years.

“I just believe that not one person can fill exactly one role,’’ O’Brien said. “I think it adds to the diversity of the offense when a lot of different guys contribute to different roles.’’

Colts can Coyer

The Colts made a coaching move yesterday, firing defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and promoting linebackers coach Mike Murphy to replace him.

The Colts are allowing 29.7 points a game, which is the worst in the league, and 389.4 yards a game, which is 28th.

Nick Caserio, the Patriots director of player personnel, said the team will prepare in the same manner despite the changes.

“I think you look at their body of work here through 11 games and what they’ve done defensively,’’ Caserio said. “Coach Coyer’s been there for a few years now, so systematically they’ve had some things in place. Whether or not there are going to be any drastic changes, I’m really not sure of that.’’

Not 100 percent

Belichick seemed to be battling a bit of a cold as he answered questions yesterday. At the end of his conference call, he was asked how he would designate himself on the injury report for Sunday’s game. “I’ll be there,’’ he said. “I probably won’t even be on the report because I know I’ll be there. I guess if we had to list something to be compliant with less than 100 percent, then I’d be on the probable, but I’ll be there.’’

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @monwalker.

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