OT Ian Allen back and facing challenge of Shaun Ellis

Updated: October 29, 2003, 9:17 PM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Getting back into the New York Giants' starting lineup has changed Ian Allen.

Not only does Allen have a smile on his face since returning to right tackle on the offensive line, he's also adjusted his thinking.

"What I am trying to do is to forget the nervousness, forget about being worried about technique and just go out there and do it," Allen said Wednesday. "All that matters is getting the job done."

Allen will have one of the toughest jobs for the Giants (3-4) in Sunday's game against the Jets (2-5), taking on NFL sack leader Shaun Ellis. The fourth-year defensive end, who had nine sacks the previous two years, already has a career-best nine this year.

"He's an explosive player," Allen said. "It will be a challenge, but I am not going to let the challenge be overbearing mentally."

Thinking too much might have been Allen's biggest problem earlier this season.

The second-year pro struggled in training camp after being given the starting job that opened when Mike Rosenthal signed with Minnesota as a free agent.

Allen eventually lost it with a dreadful performance in the season opener against the St. Louis Rams.

The play that stood out was when Rams defensive end Leonard Little blew around Allen in the first half and crushed Kerry Collins before the quarterback finished his drop. Collins fumbled on the play and the Rams got a field goal.

Chris Bober was moved from center to right tackle for the second game and Allen was reduced to being a special teams player.

"It was real tough, especially when you are watching the game and you felt you deserved another shot," Allen said. "All in all, I'm a team player and that's the way they wanted it to roll. I can't say, `Hey coach, switch it up for me.' You just go with the punches."

Everything changed for Allen last week when the Giants needed to juggle their line after guard Rich Seubert was lost for the season with a broken leg and ankle.

Center Wayne Lucier was shifted to guard, Bober was moved back inside to take over there and Allen was given a second chance.

Defensive end Kevin Williams got the Vikings' only sack in that game, but it appeared that tight end Jeremy Shockey missed the assignment as much as Allen.

Giants coach Jim Fassel said Allen still has a lot of work to do, but he saw something on Sunday he didn't see earlier this year.

"He had fight," Fassel said. "He fought, he finished every play, he was battling. As long as he will give me that kind of toughness and effort and he will finish plays, then we will keep living with it."

Rookie guard David Diehl, who lined up next to Allen, also saw a different player.

"In the huddle you could see he was relaxed and focused and he was communicating real well," Diehl said. "It went real well for us out there."

Allen felt the same way, saying he just played angry.

"Guys are going to make plays," Allen said. "But so long as you try your best to dominate that guy, as long as you let them know I'm going to play ball this game, then whatever happens is OK.

"I think earlier this year I was trying to get it done too right instead of just playing. I ended up playing too up tight all the time."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index