Falcons banking on another under-the-radar signing: A nutritionist

The Atlanta Falcons' offseason additions included two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dontari Poe and first-round pass rusher Takk McKinley, but an under-the-radar move has already made an impact.

The team brought aboard sports nutritionist Marie Spano, who also works with both the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Braves. It's no coincidence players such as two-time Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman and top rookie tackler Deion Jones talked recently about switching up their diets, packing on muscle and cutting down on sweets. Spano, who has spent time in the dining hall with the players, is encouraging healthier choices such as fruits.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn notices the difference.

"We do have a new nutritionist who is helping support the team," Quinn said of Spano. "Honestly, it's a good way for the players even in their own games, is there something they can challenge themselves on to find that edge to get better. Like I've said, marginal gains sometimes are the biggest ones. If you can get 1 percent better today, and then your eating habits are better, then your film study is better ... all those little things, they add up. I'm encouraged by how many guys are really trying to apply lots of way to improve."

Quinn was asked what prompted the addition of Spano.

"Everything that we do, we try to evaluate and say, 'How can we do it better?'" he said. "We had good support in that realm over the last few years. This is an opportunity that came about to say, 'All right, here's a new chance to improve.' And so far, so good."

Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder worked with Spano coming out of college at Valdosta State.

"She's one of the best I've worked with," Schraeder said. "Right now, I've cut out most processed food, pasta, and bread. I eat a high-good-fat diet supplemented with protein, fruit, and spinach shakes."

Here is an article Spano wrote about proper diet.