This year, Allen, New York's starting right tackle, finds himself in a much better place. "Last year I was just trying to get on the team in Kansas City," he said. "It's a much better situation here now."
In between, Allen was inked to New York's practice squad on Sept. 10 and signed to the 53-man roster less than a month later.
"Ian Allen's a pretty good athlete," McNally said. "He has good feet. He's a good pass blocker. He's new to us. He's not a disappointment at all. He's a plus, we like him. We're going to have to groom him. He's a good learner."
McNally likes Allen's brains as much as his toughness. "He's pretty smart," he said. "He went to Purdue so he has to be smart."
Allen, who can speak French and play the saxophone, is smart enough to realize the opportunity in front of him - Play well, keep the starting job.
"I'm a finesse, but very aggressive player," Allen said. "I just want to do what I do. If they like what I do then I'll be there."
McNally's not the only coach that liked what he's seen from Allen.
"We think he can be the starter," McNally said. "When he was with the Chiefs, he played left tackle and Dick Vermeil said this guy's a real good pass blocker."
Allen admitted hearing skepticism from the fans and media, but said the people that matter are already on his side.
"Obviously they thought enough of me to give me the spot," he said. "Some of these guys have been doing this since before I was born. I'm sure they wouldn't have some rinky-dink guy in there to protect Kerry Collins."