Lofa Tatupu will undergo surgery performed by Dr. James Andrew to repair a partially torn left pectoral muscle. This should end his season. Tatupu made some noise about returning, and he, like most athletes, would rather play without an arm than miss a snap, but the extent of the tear has narrowed that chance and maybe for the best.
Ever since Frank Gore ran all over the 2006 Seahawks, Tatupu has bulked up every season. He was cast as an active, attacking but often overmatched middle linebacker and wanted the muscle to bull through fullbacks and break free from pulling linemen. That muscle has come at the cost of lateral agility and wrap-tackling. Tatupu has become that too-common linebacker that hits, but bounces off the ball carrier and too-often allows yards after contact.
Seattle hasn't fixed its Frank Gore woes. Gore was able to slice through the Seahawks line and run for over two hundred yards in week two. Tatupu wasn't out there, but a detailed study showed it was the line and not any one linebacker that allowed Gore to storm into the second level uncontested. And it's the line that must be forever fixed to stop that from happening again.
The Seahawks could add another tackle in the middle and attempt to approximate the Marcus Tubbs, Rocky Bernard and Chuck Darby rotation that allowed its then small linebackers to swarm and stop staggered rushers. The solution is not for Tatupu to get bigger. He has bulked up so much, not coincidentally become barrel chested and can shaped, that his arms almost look like they have receded back into his body. Middle linebackers can be small. 34 year old London Fletcher-Baker has made a career out of quickness and technique. Jonathan Vilma was written off before he got some bulk back in front of him. The 238 pound Tatupu that entered the league could cut and wrap and make a play on the ball in the air, but the modern Tatupu hits, misses misdirection and must tackle after the reception. Get well Tats and maybe lose a couple while you're at it.