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Orton's next-play focus paying off
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/9/2008 12:00 AM

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With 7 touchdown passes in the past three games, Kyle Orton ranks 15th in the NFL with an 87.6 passer rating.

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner credited Orton's mental toughness and even-keeled demeanor for a good deal of his continued improvement.

"He's very good at focusing on the next play no matter what happened before, whether it was a mistake or a good play," Turner said. "We always say, 'Play the next play; forget about the last one.' He's tremendous at doing that. In talking to our guys about him in the huddle, they're very impressed with his poise and his composure and his demeanor. Kyle never ever gets too up or too down. That doesn't mean he doesn't get upset if he makes a mistake or anything like that, but he forgets about it and moves on."

Wolfe, Turner keep in touch: Before he became just the fourth player in NCAA Division 1-A history to rush for more than 1,500 yards in three straight seasons at Northern Illinois, Bears running back Garrett Wolfe played behind the Falcons' Michael Turner, the NFL's leading rusher.

"It was great in college," Wolfe said. "Michael was the starter, but we always had a good relationship. Michael was a fun guy to be around because he was very carefree. We still keep in contact today. When I text him, I talk about how big he looks in that uniform. He doesn't really like that too much."

The 5-foot-10 Turner is listed (conservatively) at 244 pounds but appears heavier. It's a bit of a stretch when the 5-7, 186-pound Wolfe plays Turner on the scout team at practice.

"It used to probably be about 50 pounds difference," Wolfe said. "Now it might be about 70 because Michael's a little bit bigger right now."

Beekman, Ryan now foes: Bears second-year left guard Josh Beekman and Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan played together for three years at Boston College, so it'll be strange for Beekman to root against his former roommate Sunday.

"It's going to be unique seeing him in an opponent's sense just because I played with him for so long," Beekman said. "We're good friends, and I hope for a lot of success for Matt through his NFL career and this season, but I hope (we) get after him. I hope (we) get multiple turnovers."

Although primarily a guard in college, Beekman spent two games in 2006 as Ryan's center.

"He's a competitor," Beekman said. "He really did a great job leading us on the field. He was demanding, but we got on the same page. It helped that we were roommates. A lot of the success that he has is just because he works so hard. He demands a lot of himself, and it shows with his level of work."

Defensive tackle Anthony Adams (ankle), linebacker Nick Roach (shoulder) and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (knee) did not practice Wednesday.

Defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee), and cornerbacks Charles Tillman (shoulder) and Nate Vasher (wrist) practiced but were limited.