Perry Fewell likes to point out he has one year left on his contract. CREDIT: NY Daily News

Speculation mounted in New York this season that Perry Fewell was a goner. General consensus amongst fans and media members alike was that the defensive coordinator’s job would likely be (and should be) filled by someone else (rumors of a Steve Spagnuolo return come to mind…).

Turns out Perry Fewell’s job is safer than anyone knew.

No, really. Has been for about a year now, actually.

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Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports that Fewell actually signed a one-year extension last offseason that will carry him through the 2012 season.

He originally signed a two-year contract back in 2010 after leaving Buffalo, leading many to believe his contract was about to expire, and with a below-average defensive season would be looking for employment elsewhere. However, with a deal in place and with Fewell’s defense looking much better over the final two weeks of the season, it’s hard not to see Fewell back with the Giants next season.

The report states this should all but end the media speculation that the Giants were preparing to try to lure back Steve Spagnuolo, their popular defensive coordinator in 2007-08. The Giants and Eagles were both rumored to be interested in bringing him back as a defensive coordinator. Of course, the Giants could still be interested in Spags if Fewell ends up as a head coach somewhere else in the NFL — something that’s not entirely out of the question as the report indicates. Fewell was a hot commodity last offseason, but there are no indications as of yet that he will be on the interview circuit again this year.

Early-season struggles and a myriad of injuries resulted in Fewell being the subject of some of the blame amongst fans and media, and his stock plummeted, hitting its lowest point following a disastrous defensive outing against New Orleans. His defense has picked it up of late, playing back-to-back strong games against the Jets and Cowboys, thanks to a revived pass rush that registered 11 sacks in those two games.

– Vacchiano’s report suggests speculation of Spagnuolo’s return should come to an end as a result of Fewell’s extension. I won’t speculate on Spags’ return, but I wouldn’t entirely rule Fewell’s job as being safe. The Giants’ D allowed 376.4 yards per game this season, sixth-worst in the NFL; they allowed 255.1 yards per game through the air, fourth-worst in the league; the run defense was below-average at 121.2 yards per game, ranked 19th-best.

Injuries to Terrell Thomas and Jonathan Goff played a part in the defense being weaker than expected. However, the loss of Thomas can not be the biggest reason for breakdowns in the secondary, and he was the only major loss of that group. Had he been healthy this year certainly improves the defensive backfield, but his presence alone wouldn’t have placed the pass defense in the top-15. And while Goff improved last season and was being looked to as a major pivot in the middle this season, the linebacking corps as a whole was weak to begin with.

At times Fewell’s defense has looked lost in his Cover-Two scheme, with Fewell all too often playing cautious by dropping eight into covergae and rushing only three of the Giants’ talented defensive linemen. The last two weeks have seen a shift in the Giants’ defensive gameplan, playing more aggressively, thus the better results against the Jets and Cowboys. Past performance repeats itself, and this group is at its most dangerous and successful when they are allowed to get after the quarterback and force poor decisions.

Fewell’s D was excellent last game, and you’re only as good as your last game in this League. In regard to Fewell’s future with Big Blue, he’s signed through next season – but keep that phrase in mind following this Sunday’s playoff game against Atlanta.