The good news is that the Panthers were a fairly disciplined team overall, coming in 10th best in number of penalties (98) and 13th in penalty yards (835). Yet there is always room for improvement so you have to peel back the onion and apply some statistical analysis tools, mainly the Pareto analysis.
The Pareto analysis stems from applying the Pareto Principle, also known at the 80-20 rule, which states 20% of something is typically responsible for 80% of the result. In my first analysis its the number of penalties by player. A total of 38 Panther players committed the 98 penalties. Twenty percent of 38 is 7.6 which I will round up to 8 making it a little more than twenty percent of the players. The top 8 players in penalties for 2012 were and the leading penalties they committed:
LG Amini Silatolu (10) - 4 false starts & 4 holding
DE Charles Johnson (8) - 3 offside and 3 neutral zone infraction
DE Greg Hardy (7) - 3 roughing and 3 offside
CB Josh Thomas (6) - 2 defensive PI and 2 on special teams
CB Captain Munnerlyn (6) - 3 defensive PI and 2 holding/interference
WR Steve Smith (5) - 2 offensive holding and 2 offensive PI
RT Byron Bell (5) - 2 holding and 2 false start
S Charles Godfrey (4) - 3 roughness/face mask
There were two types of penalties that were committed much more than any other: false start and offensive holding. So not only did the offensive line struggle to block it also struggled to play without getting penalties. Yet the offensive line coaches were retained this offseason [smh].
Another important stat is what was the impact of the penalty, not just in yards but effect on the drive. Here's the Panthers with three or more drive killing penalties:
Amini Silatolu (4)
Steve Smith (4)
Cam Newton (3)
Since I don't see any of those three going anywhere we just got to coach them up; except for Smitty of course. Smitty does what he wants.
The Panthers most penalized games of the season were:
Week 11 loss to the Bucs - 11 penalties for 91 yards
Week 16 win over the Raiders - 10 for 97 yards
Week 12 win over Eagles - 6 penalties for 101 yards (51 on a Nakamura PI call)
Given the Panthers lost three of four games in which they only committed 3 penalties shows you cans till win with a lot of penalties.